Children’s museum evolved to delight patrons of all ages

Children’s museum evolved to delight patrons of all ages
The Museum of Science and History, today on the Southbank. Mural by Shaun Thurston

In recognition of 75 years of education, exploration and discovery, the Museum of Science and History, affectionately known by its acronym MOSH, will cap a week-long celebration with a bash Friday, Nov. 18 for adults and children alike, including a rooftop after-party that will keep patrons dancing until midnight.

“In our 75th year of continuous community service, we have focused on reflecting, celebrating and planning for our future. We have evolved with our community since our beginning as the Jacksonville Children’s Museum in 1941 and remain committed to present relevant, inspiring and educational exhibitions and programs,” said Maria Hane, MOSH executive director. “MOSH reached nearly 240,000 people this year and we are excited to begin 2017 with a vision for growth that will carry us far into the future.”

The roots of MOSH began as the Jacksonville Children’s Museum, chartered in 1941, but it wasn’t until 1988 that the museum received its third and final name.

The Jacksonville Children’s Museum, 1061 Riverside Avenue, in 1948

The Jacksonville Children’s Museum, 1061 Riverside Avenue, in 1948

The children’s museum was first located in a Victorian mansion in Riverside until 1969, when the current facility was completed. Renovations and additions to the current location at 1025 Museum Circle on the Southbank were made in 1988, 1994, 1997 and 2010, altogether resulting in 82,200 square feet of space for display of science and history exhibits and the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium.

With three floors of permanent exhibits, the museum features a main exhibit area which changes quarterly. Over the years, some of those exhibits have addressed issues such as the environment (Atlantic Tails: Whales, Dolphins & Manatees of Northeast Florida), local history (Currents of Time: A History of Jacksonville & Northeast Florida), health science (The Body Within), sociology (RACE: Are We So Different?) and archeology (Uncovering the Past: New Archaeological Discoveries of Northeast Florida).

MOSH has a long record of accreditations, awards and certifications, beginning with a 1983 accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. It also has been designated a Florida Major Cultural Institution by the Department of State, named a Smithsonian affiliate and an International Star Station One partner, and has received numerous awards from the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Agency Institution, the American Association for State and Local History, the City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission, the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, and the Northeast Florida Regional Council.

By Kate A. Hallock

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