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(WBIR, Knoxville) - The East Tennessee Discovery Center is merging with MUSE, a grassroots movement that hopes to build a new children's science museum in downtown Knoxville.

"The City of Knoxville really needs a large scale science center. What's going to be the best way to accomplish that for our community? The two boards had a very similar vision of what that large scale center should look like, and we said lets merge forces," said Ellie Kittrell, Interim Executive Director at the Discovery Center.

MUSE's master plan would put a brand new museum in the Knoxville Convention and Exhibition Center under the downtown Holiday Inn. That deal is still in the works.

In the meantime, MUSE is collaborating with the Discovery Center, which already has a building in Chilhowee Park.

In October, the center closed to add new exhibits. It hopes to eventually transfer those exhibits to the new museum when it opens.

"Now we have a place where we can house different exhibits that we start to build here within the framework, almost like prototyping. And we can take it with us because this is only about 4,000 square feet of actual exhibits," said Ashely Klappholz, MUSE Board President.

MUSE is hoping to more than triple that square footage with a new museum. The plan includes multiple exhibits with several activities in each.

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