JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s a new president in charge of the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville.
Maria Hane who was president of MOSH for more than 11 years is stepping down to take care of a sick family member. However, Hane’s exit is a bittersweet moment for the MOSH community and especially to those who know her best.
“It’s about 50-percent relief, 50-percent grief,” Hane said of her departure. “It wasn’t a hard decision to make. I know the priorities of work and family well, but while taking care of my family member is my priority, it will also allow me space to complete a graduate program I’ve been working on.
President since 2009, it still wasn’t an easy decision for Hane to make especially while looking back on some of her most hard-won accomplishments. That includes a complete redesign and upgrade of MOSH’s planetarium. Since the 1950s, MOSH’s planetarium is the only one in the Northeast Florida region.
Under Hane’s leadership, the reconstruction was complete it just 3 months.
“After it was done, we realized that was really about a year or two-year-long project,” Hane said laughingly. “But we finished it and I think that was a real moment to celebrate.”
Another project Hane remembers fondly is when, in 2013, she and 40 other community stakeholders worked to bring the traveling exhibit Race: Are We So Different?
The exhibit is developed and maintained by the American Anthropological Association and the Science Museum of Minnesota. It tells the stories of race from biological, cultural, and historical viewpoints and its mission is to offer a look at race and racism in the United States.
It was these two major endeavors Hane thinks most-helped to change the narrative of MOSH. Before then, the museum had mostly been thought of as a children’s museum, but those actions helped people see the museum as a space not only for children but as an innovative center that caters to life-long learning.
This is what Hane is most proud of when she looks back at her own legacy.
“This city really deserves a center for innovation, a place for science and culture, and humanities. As I leave, I really feel like the foundation is there, the tools are in the toolbox, and I’m very excited to see what is to come,” she said.
While one steps down, another steps in. Interim President Bruce Fafard will take over leadership while the MOSH board searches for a full-time replacement.
Fafard said he hopes to build off of Hane’s tenure.
“The pressure comes in being able to carry that forward and into the future. That’s the challenge and I’m ready to meet that challenge.”
The future of MOSH is evolving to the minute with its 80-million-dollar expansion dubbed MOSH 2.0.
“I think you’ll see some of that implemented in the middle of the next year 2021 and that will provide a blueprint for what will occur in a brand new museum under MOSH 2.0
Later announcements will reveal what more details of MOSH 2.0, but now-president Bruce Fafard shared some of the early renderings with News4Jax.
MOSH 2.0 has its own science lab which can cater to school field trips or registered groups.