Phoenix Hopeful to Get $200M Natural History Museum

Via ktar.com

Phoenix could soon be home to a $200 million natural history museum if everything goes according to plan.

The Larry Gene Fleeman Foundation said the potential 300,000-square-foot facility would add to the legacy built by the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, which opened in 1977.

The Larry Gene Fleeman Foundation said the potential 300,000-square-foot facility would add to the legacy built by the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, which opened in 1977.

“The only big difference is it’s going to be new state-of-the-art, so it will have a lot of technology, a lot of hands-on (elements),” foundation spokesman Nick Petra said.

The institution is the brainchild of Michael Fleeman, the son of Larry Gene Fleeman. He said the intent of the museum is to help Phoenix become an internationally renowned destination.

“We’re the only major city without a state-of-the-art natural history museum,” he told the Phoenix New Times.

The building would have seven exhibit halls, two of which would host revolving exhibits. The other five would feature paleontology, anthropology, petrified wood, minerals and physical science.

“I want the museum to be a place that everybody can be proud of, from mom and pops to Ph.Ds,” Fleeman says. “And I want Arizona to be a leader in the museum industry.”

The museum would also have a mine ride, digging pit and places to eat, along with conference and theater space.

It would display local, domestic and international artifacts. Fleeman claims to have more than 10,000 specimens worth more than $10 million already purchased.

A location has not been decided on, but several sites are under consideration, including a few near the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Gardens.

Fleeman said it will take about two years to raise funds and an additional two years to build it once a site is chosen. He plans to use corporate donations and grants along with selling naming rights to fund the construction. Public donations are also being accepted.

The foundation released renderings late last year. They were designed by architect Trevor Pan, who graduated from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

KTAR’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

 

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