MOSI's about-face on Hillsborough loan the latest in museum's saga
In somewhat of a surprising decision, the Museum of Science and Industry on Tuesday chose not to accept Hillsborough County’s tough terms for a $400,000 loan — a month after the museum’s leader asked for the loan to cover payroll and other operating expenses.
The MOSI board decided they’re better off fundraising the money on their own, and raised their fundraising goal by $400,000 to $3.4 million.
It’s the latest twist in the ongoing saga with MOSI — a once-respected learning institution that has faced significant financial hardship and a lack of direction in recent years — but it certainly won’t be the last. The county remains invested in MOSI because it owns the land and the building, and Hillsborough has high expectations for the area around University of South Florida of which MOSI is a part. But MOSI is also weighing a move to Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s development near downtown Tampa.
Here’s a brief timeline of MOSI’s recent ups and downs:
March 19, 2014 — MOSI draws scrutiny from Hillsborough for money, bug problems
April 15, 2014 — Longtime MOSI chief Wit Ostrenko to retire
July 15, 2014 — Audit critical of MOSI accounting, financial management
July 11, 2015 — Critics link new leader of MOSI to failure of Sarasota museum