By Jorge Perez-Gallego, Curator of Astronomy and Exhibition Developer
In the last few months our new site has really taken shape, revealing a museum we’ve envisioned all along.
I remember when I joined the team developing the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science about two years ago. Back then, the old and beloved museum, the one in Coconut Grove, was still open, and in full swing—the corridors were always filled with a cheerful symphony of kid voices. Before joining, I had seen the beautiful renderings of the new museum, and could not wait for it to become the outstanding science museum Miami deserves.
The first time I visited the construction site, about two years ago, and two years into the construction process, the magnitude of the four main structures of the campus-like building could only be imagined. What is now the huge Aquarium building was only hinting at the vastness of the aquariums it will soon hold, the Frost Planetarium was yet to become the iconic spherical structure it is today, and both the Exploration Center and the Innovation Labs were half of the buildings they are now.
Like many of my colleagues, I have always been happy to lead guests around the construction site, something that has become easier and easier as the project has evolved. And, not only because we have steadily become more familiar with the space, but mostly because the space itself has been thankfully catching up with our awe-inspiring vision for the museum. Visit after visit, we find ourselves discovering something new and exciting, something that brings Frost Science closer to its anticipated completion. There are some remarkable engineering achievements in the past year, including topping off all four buildings, completing the spherical structure of the Frost Planetarium and pouring the concrete on the 500,000-gallon cocktail glass-shaped aquarium. And, did I mention we will be able to look up into the aquarium through a 30-foot piece of acrylic lens being made in Italy? The Oculus, as we call it, is set to to be installed by the end of the year.
In a way, I like to think the museum is somehow alive through the collective effort of those involved in its development, and those who will come visit. It is a perfect blend of the old and the new as we instill the values and love of the old institution with leading edge science innovation of today, creating an inclusive landmark in Miami in Museum Park. The life of the museum will ultimately be driven by the many guests who will interact with the wonders of the new Frost Science. We really are almost there.