Science museum

Proposed science museum in Fargo-Moorhead receives $1 million donation

A science museum project in the Fargo-Moorhead area has received a million dollar donation from a local business leader.

Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum officials say John Ballantyne’s donation will help with facility planning and feasibility studies for relocating to the community of around 250,000 people.

Ballantyne is co-founder of the biological sciences company Fargo Aldevron and serves as its chief scientific officer.

“The concept of the museum and what it means for the region is long overdue and based on a relatively brief conversation with the board, I know the group has what it takes to make it a reality,” Ballantyne said.

The museum would focus on the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, collectively known as STEM. Plans include a mobile STEM classroom.

Museum board chairman Ken Brazerol said the donation helps the planning process move forward.

“We really don’t have a facility like this from Minneapolis to Winnipeg. And we think it’s a key cultural pillar within the Fargo-Moorhead community that we don’t have, and we can help bring that to the community,” he said.

Brazerol said the organization will need to raise about $30 million over the next three to four years to make the museum a reality. He said initial fundraising for the project far exceeded expectations.

“Hopefully it gives us a bit of a shine in the community and people get excited about the project and then it starts to snowball a bit, with more and more people wanting to get involved,” Brazerol said.

Aldevron’s operations began in a laboratory at North Dakota State University in 1998 and have grown to include sites in Madison, Wisconsin, and Freiburg, Germany.