Science museum

Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum to receive $1.2 million in donations to advance efforts – InForum

FARGO — A local private organization donated $225,000 to efforts at the Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum, providing the first boost in its efforts to develop the facility.

The organization wanted to remain anonymous, but FMSM board chairman Ken Brazerol said the funds will allow the project to begin the search for an executive director and start the planning phase of a fundraising campaign to expand the facility.

On top of that, he said the group plans to announce an even larger donation next week of $1 million that will enable further progress in the effort. He said that the name of this donor will be public.

Brazerol, who works for the digital mapping company called Here Technologies of Chicago, said the executive director will provide day-to-day leadership and coordination as planning moves forward.

The group is also focused on raising even more funds for the museum and choosing a location.

Brazerol said he had “great conversations” with cities about possible locations.

Options include renovating an existing building or designing and building a new structure. The group is working with JLG Architects on a site analysis as they said they want to “get it right the first time”.

The museum would be a place where children and adults could explore and engage with science, technology, engineering, and math, collectively known as STEM. The goal is to present exhibits and hands-on interactive programs that promote science literacy.

Topics would cover the natural history of the area, from Ice Age fossils to Glacial Lake Agassiz and the soils of the Red River Valley. A mobile unit or classroom is also a hope of the group.

“I think this museum will be a great addition to the community,” Brazerol said.

“It will be a great place for families in the winter,” he said as temperatures dipped well below freezing last week.

FMSM’s board of directors, in addition to Brazerol, includes several instructors from North Dakota State University who Brazerol says will bring “genuine expertise” to the operation. They include museum founder, former chair and lecturer in geology Jessie Rock, chair of the Department of Geosciences and associate professor Stephanie Day and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the STEM education doctorate Jenni Momsen.

Other board members are Butler Machinery Co. marketing director Jodi Phillips, New Leaf Hospitality executive Bobbi Bricker, and Gwen McCartney, director of real estate law firm Wheeler McCartney.