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MOSH to build new museum at Shipyards site, abandon '2.0' expansion plan on Southbank

“The presentation of a new site option at the Shipyards property provides an exciting opportunity ..." - MOSH CEO Bruce Fafard
Credit: MOSH

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The Museum of Science and History announced plans to build a new facility at city-controlled Shipyards property on Jacksonville's Northbank, rather than renovate and expand its current Southbank location.

The museum has been raising funds for the $80 million MOSH 2.0 upgrade since it was announced in 2019. The current campus near Friendship Foundation is 50 years old.

“As a mission-driven organization, our primary goal is to ensure our future plans align with MOSH’s value to this community — both today and in the future,” said CEO Bruce Fafard. “The presentation of a new site option at the Shipyards property provides an exciting opportunity to reconsider how we will serve Northeast Florida’s citizens and visitors in the years ahead.”

Jaguars owner Shad Khan had the exclusive rights from the Downtown Investment Authority to develop the Shipyards until the negotiation period expired this summer. The DIA has said it plans to rebid the property.

The new museum facility would replace current plans to renovate and expand the Museum’s existing structure at 1025 Museum Circle. Preliminary design and construction projections indicate a 2024 opening 2024.

The museum would remain in operation at its current site during construction.

Credit: Museum of Science and History
A rendering of what the front of the Mosh will look like after the proposed renovation.

The MOSH board of trustees "engaged a cross-functional team of project partners and stakeholders, including engineers, architects and commercial real estate analysts, to evaluate" the Shipyards site, according to the museum. "This process revealed new opportunities to implement the museum’s visitor experience plan, which was shaped by an extensive community input process, and align MOSH’s vision with efforts to create a vibrant network of civic attractions, parks and river access points on the Northbank," according to the museum.

“The next iteration of MOSH will serve as a transformative center for science, innovation and humanities in Downtown," said Jill Davis, chairwoman of the MOSH 2.0 campaign cabinet. "We welcome the support of businesses, philanthropists and foundations that share our passion for activating the riverfront, inspiring innovation, supporting critical workforce development and driving tourism to Downtown Jacksonville."

Mayor Lenny Curry supported the MOSH move.

“For nearly 80 years, MOSH has inspired Jacksonville citizens of all ages to embrace the joy of lifelong learning. We applaud the museum’s leaders for their commitment to Downtown and their bold, innovative vision for the future that will inspire generations and strengthen our reputation as a premier destination in the Southeastern United States,” he said.

Read more from The Florida Times-Union