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Survey: Locals support permanent science museum in Fargo-Moorhead

This augmented reality sandbox at North Dakota State University helps students learn about and visualize landscapes. Special to The Forum

FARGO — A local group of students and professors is looking to take the next step in bringing a permanent science museum to the Fargo-Moorhead area.

After survey results showed overwhelming support for a "mobile" science museum, the Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum Project, a group made up of North Dakota State University professors and students, launched another survey to gauge public interest in a year-round, permanent science museum.

According to NDSU geosciences professor Jessie Rock, the results show strong support.

"People want this museum," she said.

Of the 2,035 people surveyed since May 2, 97 percent said they would support a science museum in Fargo-Moorhead.

Lydia Tackett, associate professor of geosciences at NDSU, said the permanent museum is still just an idea for now, and the project and has no funding or location secured yet.

"It's a really big project," she said.

But the positive reaction found in both surveys shows group members that they can start planning for a permanent museum.

The first step in that direction is a mobile science museum, which would place exhibits in a trailer and travel around the Fargo-Moorhead area, Rock said.

The mobile science museum is an NDSU endeavor, Rock said, while the Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum Project is a seperate program that will become an official nonprofit organization in July.

The mobile museum will hold interactive exhibits such as an augmented reality sandbox, a landscape visualization tool letting users create landscapes. Other attractions include a fossil dig, groundwater and soil exhibit and a dam break model.

Rock said they are currently waiting for funding to come through for the trailer. But the group is well ahead of the expected spring 2019 opening for the mobile museum, which might be available for the public as soon as this fall, she said.

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