Legislation authorizes Museum to proceed with plans to build an iconic new museum on the Northbank of Downtown
April 12, 2023 — JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) has received approval from the Jacksonville City Council for a disposition and development agreement at the Jacksonville Shipyards for the new museum.
The legislation (Ordinance 2023-0184), which was approved at the Council’s meeting on April 11, 2023, authorizes the disposition and development of 2.5 acres of City-owned land at the Shipyards property commonly known as Lot X; a 40-year ground lease of the land for $1 per year; design of the park and the Riverwalk; and other agreements related to the creation of a new museum and surrounding park spaces.
MOSH has operated in its current 77,000-square-foot location on the Southbank of Downtown Jacksonville since 1969. The new museum will be approximately 100,000 square feet across three floors, with the option to build a future expansion of an additional 30,000 square feet — significantly expanding the organization’s capacity to serve more students and visitors.
“For more than 80 years, MOSH has welcomed curiosity and inspired the joy of lifelong learning. The new MOSH will continue that tradition on a larger scale, using modern design and technology to deliver an exceptional visitor experience,” said Bruce Fafard, CEO of MOSH. “We are proud to continue our partnership with the City of Jacksonville as we prepare for the Museum’s exciting next chapter.”
MOSH leaders announced their desire to build a new Museum at the Shipyards in October 2020. Since then, the organization has engaged a cross-functional team to create the world-class Museum, including DLR Group and kasper architects + associates for architecture; Balfour Beatty and Stellar as a joint venture for construction management; Local Projects for exhibit design; and NineOaks Development for project management. The Downtown Investment Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the plan in December 2022.
The project will cost approximately $100 million, inclusive of design, site preparation, construction and exhibition fabrication. To date, more than $36 million has been raised, including $20 million from the City of Jacksonville’s Capital Improvement Plan and $16 million in private donations secured through the MOSH Genesis capital campaign.
“Museums are the mark of a sophisticated community. We are so thankful for the unwavering support from our public officials and outpouring of support from our community. Hundreds of Northeast Florida residents sent letters of support to the City Council to elevate our vision for MOSH’s future — reinforcing the widespread interest in bringing this incredible project to reality,” said Christian Harden, Chair of the MOSH Board of Trustees.
A preliminary project analysis by ConsultEcon estimates that the new Museum will increase annual attendance from 175,000 (2017-2019 average) to 469,000, a 168% increase; triple tourism attendance; increase the Museum’s operating budget to $8 million, nearly tripling its pre-pandemic budget; and create 78 new jobs, contributing $2.3 million in new salaries and wages to the local economy.
Once the project breaks ground, construction is anticipated to take 18 months. MOSH will remain open at its current location throughout construction.
For more information or to support the MOSH Genesis capital campaign through a contribution, visit MOSHGenesis.com or email MOSHGenesis@themosh.org.
About The Museum of Science & History (MOSH)
The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) is located at 1025 Museum Circle near Friendship Park. MOSH, first chartered in 1941, inspires the joy of lifelong learning by bringing to life the sciences and regional history. Admission is $19.95 for adults; $16.95 for youth, students, active and retired military and seniors. There is no admission fee for children 2 and under or Museum Members. Learn more at themosh.org.
Museum funding is provided in part by the City of Jacksonville and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Inc.; State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and the National Endowment for the Arts; Historic Museums Grants-in-Aid Program assistance provided by the Bureau of Historical Museums, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, Secretary of State.