Where can you visit dinosaurs, gigantic prehistoric sharks, the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, inside your own body or the farthest reaches of the solar system? It’s not the latest mind-bending IMAX film by Chris Nolan or the latest show on HBO, but the Museum of Science and History in downtown Jacksonville.
The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) has been one of Jacksonville’s most significant advocates for science and history education in North Florida for over 70 years. Generation after generation, MOSH has continued to provide hands-on, informal learning experiences. It is also the only institution of its kind in Jacksonville and the region that offers science and regional history, and is home to the largest single-lens digital dome planetarium in the United States.
“MOSH’s mission is to inspire the joy of lifelong learning by bringing to life the sciences and regional history. We are dedicated to presenting learning in a fun, informal way that resonates with people, no matter their age,” said MOSH’s deputy director, Christy “Lenny” Leonard.
The brilliant minds that help make MOSH a regional destination are excited about Jacksonville’s rise as an innovative hub for technology and entrepreneurship. They see the role of the museum as integral for the growth of the city.
“It is our opinion that museums should be centers for dialogue. In January 2013, MOSH sparked a city-wide conversation on race with the opening of ‘RACE: Are We So Different?’ A groundswell of corporate, individual, public, private, cultural, and educational support created unparalleled momentum around the topic of race,” said Leonard.
Museum leaders continue to leverage their position as one of Jacksonville’s most important voices in the community. Events like One Spark have ignited a new passion for the crossover between the arts, science, technology and cultural topics and the role MOSH can play.
“We are so thrilled to see all the positive activity happening in Jacksonville, especially with the One Spark Festival,” explained Leonard. “MOSH 100 percent supports initiatives like One Spark that encourage individuals to be creative and innovative especially in the areas of science, technology and the arts.”
She also said MOSH will continue to be an active participant in city planning and consensus building through the JAX2025 visioning process and downtown development. In addition, MOSH continues to play a vital role in Cultural Fusion, a vibrant collaboration of arts, entertainment and community organizations whose mission is to create unique offerings through collaborations, with the goal of heightening expectations for valuing culture in our community while helping each organization become stronger and more impactful.
Of course, the primary focus of MOSH is fostering interest and growth in high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in North Florida and ensuring it is available to everyone. In fact, 75 percent of science-based programs at MOSH will be delivered to low-income students in the school year.
During the 2014-15 school year, MOSH will deliver STEM learning to almost 40,000 students in Duval and surrounding counties through museum exhibits and educational. An additional 3,000 students will receive in-school outreach visits from MOSH educators presenting science and mobile planetarium programs. MOSH also offers scholarships to 25 low-income students in the area to their Summer Discovery Camp.