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  • Museum of Science & History (MOSH)Museum of Science & History Jacksonville, Florida
    The MOSH, or Museum of Science & History found in Jacksonville, Florida is private and nonprofit, sitting on the Southbank Riverwalk, is the most popular museum in the city and was intended to be a hands-on science and history experience for children. One of the best interactive and award winning displays is the Currents of Time, that explores 12 centuries of northeast Florida history, or the Atlantic Trails, that highlights the indigenous mammals of the region's waterways. Another great favorite is the Alexander Brest Planetarium that shows numerous films daily and the 60 foot diameter dome-shaped projection screen encourages the audience to learn about the stars, learning about astronomy, present and past. The museum's roots can be traced back to 1941, when the city's children's museum was chartered and their first home happened to be a stately Victorian mansion in Riverside. Construction for their new building started in 1965, and opened in 1969, with the children's museum becoming the Jacksonville Museum of Arts and Sciences in 1977, gaining accreditation some six years after. After that, their name was changed to the Museum of Science and History, during 1988, and they gained another 37,000 square feet of additional exhibiting space; which included the Alexander Brest Planetarium. There is a magnificent permanent Civil War exhibit, as well as marvelous displays of natural history and tools that will help you discover the physical and natural worlds that surround us in the region. Also highlighted are the displays of the environment and ecology of the area around Jacksonville, one of the best being the mammals of northeast Florida; with a fabulous display about the Timucan Native Americans that lived here long before the Spanish conquistadors. Some of the current exhibits now on display at the museum include the A-Mazing Sea that runs until the beginning of May, 2010, that enables you to explore a number of mazes, learning about the life that lives under the water and the environmental issues that face us all. When your child answers the question correctly, they move ahead through the maze making it all that much more interesting and meaningful. Another is the Body Within that has you entering into the body through a huge mouth, then walking through the digestive system, and then out the end, literally, the end being your rear end; which helps you and your children learn more about the body and the incredible functions that this amazing complex machine works.  Water Worlds is another exhibit, that is now permanent, that helps you to explore the underwater world of the first coast, with other aquariums that will show you numerous water habitats and contains live aquatic animals that are found in this state and around the region. In the Currents of Time display, you travel back into the past while walking into the past history of the city and northeast Florida, from the earliest settlers that came here more than 10 centuries ago right up to the modern day; and how it came to be the city it is today. Atlantic Tails opens up the ocean with a life sized right whale and her new baby, with many marine mammals and authentic marine skeletons. At the Aqua Expo, you will see how water works without getting you wet, and in the Attic display, a rotating exhibit contains artifacts about the history of the museum, its collections and loans that marvel visitors. In Prehistoric Park, an allosaurus skeleton greets you and at the Naturalist's Center you will have the opportunity to meet all the animals that live here like owls, alligators, tortoises, and snakes. 

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  • Cummer Museum of Art and GardensCummer Museum of Art and Gardens Jacksonville, Florida
    The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is a public museum that is found in Jacksonville, Florida that highlights American and European artistic paintings; as well as a huge collection of Meissen porcelain. In January of 2010, it was put on the list of the National Register of Historic Places; after opening in 1961 on the grounds of the former home of Ninah and Arthur Cummer. It contains three marvelous gardens, with one of them dating back to the first part of the 20th century. The permanent collection contains more than 6000 artworks that date back to 2100 BC and span to the 21st century. Their wonderful Art Connections is famous throughout the country as an education center that empowered more than 50,000 academic students every year and provides a fantastic hands-on-art experience to all of its visitors. The museum is contained in a number of 20th century buildings, that opens to the views of the St. Johns River, one of the most historic and active waterways in the state. In 2002, it began a number of initiatives to look into future needs and this caused the acquisition of the historic Woman's Club of Jacksonville, which is a great Tudor style residential building that is going to handle all the public programs and events hub for the museum. It was surprised with the Jacksonville Historical Commission's award for 2009.  Their Eurpean collection houses more than 1100 decorative arts, paintings, works on paper and sculptures, that date to the 12th to 15th centuries, with strong holdings in old master paintings by Lorrain, Asserato, Gaddi, Steen, Rubens, Aertsen, Snyders and Vasari. The American collection holds over 1000 sculptures, decorative arts, paintings, and works on paper that date back to the 18th century and come up to the present; with wonderful landscape paintings from the 19th century by Heade, Lewis, Moran and Kensett. Their portraiture works have been done in the 19th century and by artists such as Sully, Neagle, West and Stuart. The works are complemented by American impressionists Frieseke, Hassam, Benton, Miller, Greacen, Benton and Ashcan School Artists; Glakens, Bellows and Henri. It is an exciting collection that deserves your attention the next time you come to Jacksonville, Florida and want to do something out of the hot sun's glare and high humidity.

January 11, 2011