Oct 202011
Authors: Katie Salvato

After 33 years at 200 Mathews St., The Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center will temporarily close its doors before moving to a new and larger facility in November 2012.

“The new space will be 47,000 square feet, as opposed to our (current) 12,000 square feet,” said Cheryl Donaldson, co-executive director of FCMDSC. “We’re going from a small experience to a large experience.”

During the months of closure, the staff will divide up into teams to move exhibits, artifacts and history archives.

The new facility, located at the corner of Cherry Street and College Avenue, will feature 16,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space, a 5,000-square-foot changing exhibit area, the local history archive, two fully equipped classrooms and a digital dome theater.

The dome, with a 360-degree theater, will host educational shows and planetarium-style experiences.

“The digital dome is like a blank canvas,” said Annette Gieselman, the other co-executive director of FDMDSC. “We can host live music, show productions, and when the dust settles from the move, we want to start working on our own productions.”

They could even host weddings in the digital dome, Gieselman said.

“It’s the most adaptable part of the new museum,” she added.

The Fort Collins Museum, which merged with the Discovery Science Center in 2009, has been working toward a new location since 2004.

Moving locations has been a $26.7 million project, Donaldson said. So far, the museum has raised $23.3 million.

“Six million came from tax payers when they voted to pass the tax initiative in 2005,” Donaldson said. “That kind of started the big momentum for other people to come and support us.”

The Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center will celebrate its last day on Oct. 30 with its Dark in the Park event.

“It’s going to be free to the public,” Gieselman said. “That’s huge. It’ll also be appropriate for the kids.”

Families will be welcome to come to the museum from 12 to 4 p.m. and participate in several activities, such as the Goblin’s Groove dance party and a costume contest.

“We’ll be having a live exhibit with snakes and tarantulas,” said Treloar Bower, Curator of Education.
“It’s in the theme of Halloween, but we’d like to teach the kids to appreciate the animals in their natural environments.”

The great part about the live exhibit is that people will not only be able to see the animals, but they will also be able to hold them, Gieselman said.

After the fun and games, the Executive Directors will give a word of thanks and do the closing ceremonies on the front steps.

“We are closing the door on one part of our history,” Donaldson said. “But that opens the door to this next exciting phase. We have a lot of great memories here. Thousands of people have enjoyed both the Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Center over the years, and we look forward to them visiting us next year at the new museum.”

Collegian writer Katie Salvato can be reached at news@collegian.com

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