Monday, December 04, 2017

The Frost "Science" Museum ... by gimleteye

The Frost "Science" Museum is a still beautiful confusion. I took my one year old granddaughter recently, and it was much better than I expected. She had a great time among well-designed and wonderfully conceived, living exhibits of the natural world and subtropical biodiversity.

As an adult, I have a few observations.

1) Location. "Museum Park" never made sense. NEVER. Sorry I can't get over it. As usual, Miami and Miami-Dade government officials made sure that the access and physical conformation of the art and science museum would not make either visual or locational sense. The art museum is one of the most beautiful structures in Florida. It is covered up by the science museum. Oh well, the water is done and gone under that bridge.

2) Funding. Taxpayers are significantly on the hook for both museums, which were "sold" to voters on the premise that they would be self supporting by local contributors. The Frost "Science" Museum board of directors really dropped the ball. To be a world-class facility, as the museum was meant to be, significant additional funding is needed. Already, only months after opening, the wear and tear is visible. The Frosts deserve Miami's thanks for investing tens of millions, but clearly there is a problem in the board if the museum can't exist without major taxpayer support. The danger is that the Frost "Science" Museum becomes another mediocre and very expensive piece of government-supported infrastructure.

3) "Science". The greatest paradox of our time is billionaires who don't believe in climate change. (Norman Braman?) Not only are the signs all around us, but Miami is literally at ground zero among the major cities in the world for sea level rise. Yet Philip Frost doesn't believe the indisputable science of man-made climate change. This is disqualifying: if you don't believe in climate change, you can't be a "science" museum. Moreover, by dereliction, you become a second or third rate entity.

My one year old granddaughter is most certainly not going to understand what this avoidance means, but when she is my age six decades down the road she absolutely will. She and all our grandchildren and great grandchildren and further generations will say: what the fuck were those people thinking? because, in that future, people inside the bathysphere will be staring at sea life outside.

Let's not lose sight: there is hope. The board of directors can get its act together and find the funding necessary to make the museum into the world-class facility it was designed to be. Phil Frost can change his mind about climate change. He can steer the museum to channeling the world-wide interest in global warming because otherwise, it will always be an orphan.

In the meantime lots of Miami-Dade schoolchildren are visiting the museum; a very good thing. Go and learn about the incredible beauty and diversity of the natural world that sustains us.


Geniusofdespair said...

I found the museum geared to kids. I only liked the planetarium. I went for the brain exhibit was unimpressed.

Anonymous said...

I went during the solar eclipse earlier this year and it was packed! Was happy to see that. The laser light shows in the planetarium are fun. I like that the park next to the museum has changing elevation/mounds and lots of tree cover. Great spot for a picnic.

Science barge parked out back is a unique touch too.

Beatriz Baldan said...

I visited the museum with my grandchildren, daughters and sisters during the summer when they were in town. I found it extremely cumbersome. The line of the tickets where extremely long.
The space exhibit was good.
I noticed the plaque at the entrance thanking all the donors. The plaque said: "The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is made possible thought the leadership and generosity of our major Donors" and lists all the donors. They need to add "and all the people of Miami that made this possible thru their taxes.
It is utterly necessary to me to acknowledge it. People will think that these corporations and people paid for all of it and this is not true.
In the Florida nature exhibit, they tied up a falcon to a branch so it will not fly away. I found this cruel and horrific. Is this the message we want to show our children?