Gillian Thomas, president and CEO of Miami’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, is confident the high-profile relocation of the museum to its “next generation” new home on Miami’s waterfront will be completed despite a turbulent few weeks.
Reports of a $45m (£31m, €42m) shortfall in funding were assuaged when Patricia and Phillip Frost, the project’s main donors, stepped in with a bridge loan and appointed a new board of trustees.
“The importance of the Frost Museum project and the stage we’ve got to means it’s something everyone wants to see happen,” Thomas says.
The Grimshaw-designed attraction is entering the final construction phase, but ran up higher bills than expected and is struggling to meet the total project cost of $307m (£214m, €284m). The Miami-Dale County Commission is considering a proposal to provide the extra funding.
The 250,000sq ft (32,225sqm) building is set to feature a 3D planetarium, a wildlife centre and hands-on exhibits exploring everything from aviation to human health. The planetarium is an example of the innovative and progressive nature of the attraction, as it’s going to be possible to see projections on the outside and inside of the dome. The science museum is also working with the New World Symphony and videographer Jonathan Kane to develop an interactive exhibit for the new full dome.
Thomas says they are working with Kane to create something where “people can listen to the music while seeing what is happening inside their brain projected on the walls. That’s the kind of weird and wonderful thing we’re trying to develop.”
Meanwhile, Thomas says the museum’s aquarium will “take you on a journey through five habitats; from the inland Everglades to an amazing moment of reveal as you enter the Gulf Stream and see our 510,000 gallon tank.”
“It will get people to realise the importance of these habitats and provide a feeling of wanting to do something to preserve it. It’s going to be extremely beautiful,” Thomas says.
“Not everything will be there at day one. We see the museum as a kind of canvas, and some elements will come along later.”
See: Frosts act to save museum, page 20