The grant — which must be matched on a two-to-one basis, raising an additional $20 million from members of the community — includes support for a learning center, a high-tech meeting space for students and community groups, and a new director for education. With the commitment from Knight, the museum has raised $70 million of its $100 million goal.
Scheduled to open in 2015, the new building will be located on eight acres in Museum Park and feature a lushly landscaped indoor and outdoor "living core" of terrestrial and aquatic spaces, including a 600,000 gallon aquarium, a 3-D planetarium, hands-on exhibits, advanced technology, and two wings of additional exhibition space, classrooms, and cafes.
"This [challenge grant] is wonderful recognition of the excellent education work that the museum has been accomplishing for more than five decades," said museum board co-chairs Trish and Dan Bell. "We can no longer adequately serve the expanding population of South Florida at our present site, and this gift for the Learning Center at the new museum serves to emphasize how education is at the heart of all we do."