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Downsized Museum Of Science And Industry Now Open

Reconfigured MOSI layout

The 40-year-old Museum of Science and Industry reopened Saturday, Nov. 18 after three months of renovations - and a significant downsizing.

Museum officials say years of accumulating debts made the downsizing of the museum a necessary step.

Julian Mackenzie, the recently-appointed CEO and President of MOSI,  led the museum through its renovation.

“The plan is for us to turn around MOSI, make sure that it is self-sustaining and financially viable, so that the dependence on county help reduces over a period of time,” said Mackenzie.

Favorites like the hurricane simulator, suspended bicycle and IMAX Theater were shut down with the closing of the main building, and operations are shifting to a smaller area,where MOSI’s “Kids in Charge” was based.

He said downsizing staff and operating facilities has already helped the museum, by reducing their utilities bills by 90 percent.

He says these changes created a small surplus for MOSI at the end of the last financial quarter, bringing hope to the future of the museum.

Credit MOSI
The reconfigured MOSI Science Learning Lab will be located in the area currently occupied by the museum's Welcome Center, amphitheater and Kids In Charge Exhibit. The Sky Trail Ropes Course will also remain open.

Some patrons hope the remodeled MOSI will keep things fresh.

Anastasia Ebanks, 19, visited the museum 10 years ago on a fourth grade field trip and remembers an interactive exhibit about the human body.

“I hope that it still kindles an interest in the sciences,” said Ebanks.

Marissa Justick, 21, enjoyed the variety of exhibits the museum provided and how there was something new to learn when she came back.

Grant McDermott, 19, remembers MOSI as a place “where some of my best moments of my childhood were at.”

MOSI is trying to keep students interested in science by going out into schools, growing their relationship with neighboring school district and lowering prices.  

MOSI Creative Director Rob Hendershot focused on his experiences of taking his children to museum when figuring out how to attract new visitors and renew the museum’s image.

The downsized MOSI reimagines science learning areas for kids.

He reflected on the past experiences of guest when making decision on exhibits, the damaged and outdated exhibits were constant hindrances on their experience.

“I want it to be a learning experience, in a fun way,” Hendershot said.

Color-coding defines each category, separating the exhibits and giving them their own distinct styles:  purple for Core Sciences, green for Health Sciences, and blue for Sky and Space.

MOSI is keeping their Idea Zone along with their revamped planetarium, which now includes a dome projector.

An addition to the museum is their ISS Above Monitor, which shows the real time position of the International Space Station and will sometimes broadcast a live feed of Earth.

Kyanna Riggins is a digital news intern at WUSF Public Media for fall 2017.
Andy Lalino serves WUSF Public Media as a journalist, video producer/editor, and graphic designer/animator. He’s authored pop-culture journalism articles, contributed weekly columns for Tampa Bay nostalgia websites, and published features for Fangoria magazine.
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