It was a grand idea, and it was perhaps grandiosity that was its Achilles heel.
History is dotted with grand ideas, generally the ones that succeed -Disney World, the town of Branson, Mo., Mall of the Americas, and so on.
Few people remember the grand ideas that fizzle or fail outright.
The Allegheny Musarium should not be forgotten, however. It should be remembered not for what it promised, but for the manner in which the idea was hatched and nurtured.
Unlike some other grand ideas that have come and gone, this one had its roots firmly planted in Warren County soil. A group of area women got together and considered what could be done to promote their community, preserve its heritage and highlight its natural resources. Having visited the aquarium in Chattanooga, Tenn., they latched on to the idea that something similar to that, perhaps melded with a museum devoted to local history and culture, might fill the bill.
They threw themselves into their work and for several years devoted countless hours, exhaustive research and seemingly never-ending enthusiasm to the project.
Their excitement and an attitude that discounted failure carried them and made them believe that $60 million could be raised through subscription and fund-raising campaigns, the involvement of foundations and individual donors. The project didn't rely on government financial help as a prerequisite.
A combination of a down economy, fatigue and the deaths of some of its founding members spelled the end of the Allegheny Musarium dream. This week the board threw in the towel.
It is sad to see such enthusiasm for one's community be met with failure.
The Musarium was just too grand, but it was worth a shot, and we salute those women who championed it for so long. And, we hope there are more ideas ready to hatch. We are blessed with people who follow dreams aimed at improving the community in which they live.
As the anthropologist Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." If they can change the world, they certainly can change a community.