The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) intends to build a new 129,000-square-foot museum at the Shipyards property on the Northbank of Downtown Jacksonville. The new three-story facility is planned for a four-acre piece of the Shipyards property and would replace current plans to renovate and expand the existing structure at 1025 Museum Circle. According to a press release, construction could begin in 2021 on the $80 to $90 million attraction, which could be ready to welcome its first members and guests in 2024.

“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 Bruce Fafard, CEO of MOSH. “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.”

The Museum’s Board of Trustees engaged a cross-functional team of project partners and stakeholders, including engineers, architects and commercial real estate analysts, to evaluate the site. 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.

Potential plans for a Shipyards replacement for Metropolitan Park. (City of Jacksonville)

“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,” said Lenny Curry, Mayor of the City of Jacksonville.

Plans for a new museum at the Shipyards align with the goals of the Curry administration and a push for the redevelopment of this former industrial property and underutilized land around TIAA Bank Field. Depending on the design of the new museum, additional synergy could be generated with plans to potentially relocate Metropolitan Park and the USS Orleck to the Northbank property.

Known as “The Gray Ghost”, the USS Orleck is a Gearing class destroyer that would be converted into a Naval history museum. The Downtown Design Review Board recently granted conceptual design approval for the project that would be moored at the Shipyards Pier 1.

The USS Orleck

A move to the Shipyards would also allow the Museum to provide continuous operation at its current site throughout the construction process. MOSH will work with the City and the Downtown Investment Authority to evaluate future uses and opportunities for the existing 83,000 square foot museum building designed by William Morgan and completed in 1968.