MOSH selects design team for new Shipyards home

The museum says DLR Group and Jacksonville-based kasper architects + associates will work on the facility.

The Museum of Science and History plans to move across the St. Johns River from the Southbank to the Shipyards on the Northbank.
The Museum of Science and History plans to move across the St. Johns River from the Southbank to the Shipyards on the Northbank.
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The international firm DLR Group will lead the design team for the $85 million Museum of Science and History proposed for the Shipyards on the Downtown Northbank.

MOSH announced Aug. 17 that Omaha, Nebraska-based DLR Group will work with Jacksonville-based kasper architects + associates and SCAPE, a New York-based landscape architecture firm on the proposed MOSH Genesis project. 

MOSH CEO and President Bruce Fafard said in a news release that the museum’s board of trustees selected DLR through a competitive eight-month bidding process. 

“We knew this project required the expertise of both a national firm with deep experience in museum architecture and a local partner with existing relationships and knowledge of the Jacksonville market,” Fafard said. 

“Together, we know DLR Group, kasper architects + associates, and SCAPE will bring our vision to life.”

MOSH wants to secure about 4 acres at the vacant city-owned Shipyards to move from 1025 Museum Circle on the Downtown Southbank, its home since 1967.

DLR Group has worked on cultural art projects nationally and internationally. 

MOSH wants to find a new home on the21.7-acre Shipyards West parcel.
MOSH wants to find a new home on the21.7-acre Shipyards West parcel.

According to the release, the firm’s museum experience includes the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; the Museum at Bethel Woods (Woodstock Museum); the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery; and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

“DLR Group and the design team will capitalize on this opportunity to create a unique, immersive cultural experience that is reflective of the rich history of Jacksonville,” DLR Group Senior Design Leader Vanessa Kassabian said in the statement. 

“In addition to creating an assemblage of technology and history, this project will serve as a social anchor for the local community, a space defined by notions of flexibility and a true integration between the building and its site,” she said.

MOSH is negotiating with the Downtown Investment Authority about where the museum will build on the 21.7-acre Shipyards West parcel.

MOSH leadership says the museum has outgrown its 77,000-square-foot facility and the new facility would expand the organization’s capacity to serve more students and visitors. 

The release says MOSH’s early projections show that by building at the Shipyards, the museum will be able to serve 58,000 students, a 50% increase over pre-pandemic numbers. MOSH also could serve 469,000 visitors annually, a 168% increase.

According to a DIA document, the nonprofit Jessie Ball duPont Fund designed a master plan for the Downtown waterfront from Catherine Street to Metropolitan Park that calls for a civic attraction at Shipyards East.

The DIA board and City Council voted earlier this year to donate $60,000 to the duPont study.

In a July 22 email, Fafard said the organization has $31.8 million in commitments from individual donors, businesses and civic funding for its MOSH Genesis capital relocation campaign. 

Jordan Elsbury, Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff, said July 21 there is $12 million in the mayor’s proposed 2021-22 Capital Improvement Plan for the MOSH relocation. 

Former Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver donated an undisclosed amount of money to the project in May.

MOSH Genesis also received a $5 million donation from Jaguars owner Shad Khan in November. Khan intends to develop the former Kids Kampus park adjacent to the Shipyards.

In the email, Fafard said he anticipates MOSH could gain access to the site between December 2021 and February 2022. 

Site work could start by the first quarter of 2022, the release says.