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Issue Date: April 2008

The Influentials: Linda Abraham-Silver

President and executive director, Great Lakes Science Center

It could have been like any other science center. An exhibit that mimics an indoor tornado? Check. A static generator? Right here. Omnimax Theater? Got it. But then Linda Abraham-Silver arrived in 2005 and brought Gunther von Hagens’Body Worlds 2to Cleveland. The traveling exhibition of masterfully preserved human bodies was a huge debut for the Los Angeles transplant and helped change the trajectory of the young institution. Under Abraham-Silver’s leadership, the Science Center has hosted other popular traveling exhibits includingBaseball as America, moved the SteamshipWilliam G. Matherto a new location behind the museum (and is planning a $2.7 million glass walkway connecting the two) and allowed films such as “Superman Returns” and “Harry Potter” to share the Omnimax screen. Maybe most notably, the Science Center reminded us all of the promise of alternative energy by building a 150-foot wind turbine on its front lawn that generates 7 percent of the museum’s annual electricity needs. Who would have guessed a larger-than-life science project would become North Coast Harbor’s biggest conversation piece?

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