TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After decades in its current home, MOSI will close on Monday, and spend the next three months downsizing from 300,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet, moving from the main building to the space currently called “Kids in Charge.”
MOSI will turn the main building back over to its owner, Hillsborough County.
CEO Julian MacKenzie says portions of legacy exhibits, including The Amazing You and Weathering The Storm, will be eliminated, along with the IMAX theater, butterfly garden, cafe, and gift shop. Items including the large dinosaurs in the main building will be sold.
The most popular and innovative exhibits will be relocated to “Kids in Charge,” which will likely get a new name and new configuration. The ropes course, zip line and planetarium will remain.
For longtime employees, including Director of Innovation Anthony Palaez, who has worked at MOSI for 16 years, the changes are bittersweet.
A number of employees are being let go, and the building and exhibits that are woven into MOSI’s history will cease to exist in a matter of days.
“I’ve grown up here. My son has grown up here. But we will still be a part of the community, and we will still be what inspires our future generations,” Paleaz says.
MOSI plans to spend several years developing its concepts for an eventual move to downtown Tampa. The museum plans to reopen in the area being redeveloped by Jeff Vinik by 2022, although no location has been determined.
In the meanwhile, MacKenzie says MOSI will put a greater focus on traveling to schools throughout the Tampa Bay area.
“We want to have a very strong outreach program, and take science to them in their known environment,” says MacKenzie.
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