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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 15, 201910:00 AM EST

MOSH launches $80 million campaign for renovation and expansion

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The Southbank museum wants to raise up to $25 million from private sources.

The Museum of Science & History intends to renovate and expand its Downtown Southbank campus and increase its ability to serve the community.

It launched an $80 million campaign, “MOSH 2.0: Expanding the Capacity to Inspire Innovation,” in January to raise private and public funding for the project at 1025 Museum Circle, near Friendship Park.

View from St. Johns River.

Of that total, MOSH intends to seek at least $20 million from individuals, businesses, corporations, foundations and other community supporters.

Public funding comprises local, state and federal sources.

MOSH said the cost of MOSH 2.0 could be up to $90 million, with up to $25 million from private contributions.

It established the Nucleus Fund for the campaign’s startup and administrative costs, projected at $2 million that is included in the $25 million in private contributions.

The MOSH board of trustees financially supported the fund “with full participation in pledge commitments,” MOSH announced Friday.

MOSH is selling naming rights to all or parts of the project.

The organization expects the renovation and expansion to take up to five years and will seek city approvals and land-lease amendments this spring.

It will remain open during construction.

MOSH announced Friday that the changes are expected to more than double the number of people it can serve annually from 229,239 in 2017 to an estimated 468,000 by 2023.

It also said the project would position the museum for public use for lifelong learning and experiential education.

Walkthrough Aquifer

In an interview Thursday, MOSH President Maria Hane and board of trustees Chair Parvez Ahmed said the museum will increase its outreach in science, technology, engineering and math.

The improvements also will increase the capacity for developing and enhancing job skills as it serves those seeking lifelong learning.

“Science is cool,” Hane said. “It’s cool to be a nerd right now.”

Plans include indoor and outdoor settings “to create a seamless campus experience between the Museum, St. Johns River Park and Friendship Fountain and the Southbank Riverwalk.”

MOSH said the project will:

• Expand square footage from 77,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet.

• Reorient the entry toward the St. Johns River.

• Enhance the range and capacities for exhibits, installations, programming, educational alignment and immersive experiences with the latest technology.

Rooftop view
Natural Ecosystem river model

MOSH said the improvements will include a café on the park; a rooftop conference center and event space; and “Maker Spaces” and innovation labs.

The exhibition areas will increase by 200 percent and will showcase Northeast Florida’s cultural, natural and innovation ecosystems, it said.

Interactive displays, such as the River Table and simulated aquifer system, will provide guests with experiential learning opportunities.

The Bryan-Gooding Planetarium also will be renovated.

“As soon as you park your car, your experience begins,” Hane said.

The master plan concept was developed from four independent, community-based studies over the past six years that MOSH said “revealed a high degree of consensus for large-scale improvements to the Museum’s current campus and facility.”

MOSH was chartered in 1941 and moved into its Southbank facilities in 1967-68. MOSH occupies 15 acres.

It operates daily. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for youth, students, active and retired military and seniors. There is no fee for children under the age of 2.

Museum funding is provided in part by the city, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Inc., the state, the Florida Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.

MOSH hired Florida-based Carter Global Inc. as the campaign consultant.

Hane and Ahmed said the location puts MOSH into the Southbank corridor of development between Baptist Medical Center and The District, the proposed residential, commercial and retail development designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle for all generations.

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