Miami Science Museum receives $10M for new downtown building

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has committed a challenge grant of $10 million to the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (Miami Science Museum).

The support will foster science education and help strengthen Miami’s rapidly emerging downtown cultural center. Knight Foundation’s grant must be matched with an additional $20 million in funding, a requirement meant to encourage additional community support.

“Our gift to the science museum, equal in size to an earlier gift to the art museum that will stand by its side, is a recognition of the importance of science education and of the museum’s leadership,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “Knight’s challenge grant is intended to galvanize support and accelerate the exciting community transformation at Museum Park.”

Knight’s support will help engage the community in exploring science, technology and the environment by supporting the new high-tech facility and ensuring that more South Floridians participate in programming. Over time, funds will allow hundreds of thousands of Greater Miami students to visit at least once during elementary and middle school.

More visitors also will get to participate in on-site, science-based research activities. Knight Foundation’s contribution will be recognized through the naming of the Learning Center, a hightech meeting space for students and community groups, and a key position within the new museum’s management team, the director for education.

“This is wonderful recognition of the excellent education work that the museum has been accomplishing for more than five decades,” said Trish and Dan Bell, cochairs of the museum’s board of trustees.

“We can no longer adequately serve the expanding population of South Florida at our present site and this gift for the Learning Center at the new museum serves to emphasize how education is at the heart of all we do.”

Knight Foundation’s $10 million commitment to the museum’s new building puts the museum in its final stretch of private fundraising — with $70 million raised out of its $100 million goal. The remaining funds that complete the estimated $275 million overall project cost are granted by Miami-Dade County’s Building Better Communities Bond Program, overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004, and other government sources.

Designed by internationally renowned Grimshaw Architects, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science will bring the most spectacular high-design experience to Miami’s already bustling cultural landscape. The 250,000 squarefoot complex is intended to act as a demonstration of ecological and sustainability principles, harnessing energy from water, sun, wind and museum visitor energy to power exhibits and conserve resources.

The museum is structured around a lushly landscaped indoor and outdoor “living core” of terrestrial and aquatic spaces, featuring a 600,000 gallon aquarium facility, a full dome 3-D planetarium, hands-on exhibits, cutting edge technology and two additional wings of exhibition space, classrooms and cafes. With the support of the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County and others in the community, the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is on track to be a stand-out destination, inspiring visitors to learn, share and embrace science and technology. The new museum is slated to break ground on Feb. 24, and open in early 2015.

Miami Science Museum is located at 3280 S. Miami Ave. The Museum is open every day from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is free for MiaSci members and children under 3; students (with valid ID), seniors (62-plus) and children 3-12, $10.95; adults are $14.95. Parking is free.

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