In the last five years, North Alabama has seen the addition of new sporting facilities, award-winning music venues, and an outrageous number of impressive new food and beverage concepts, but the latest chatter of a science museum springing up in Madison has the area asking “Is it true?”
And the answer is: Yes, indeed, it is true that a proposed science museum is in the works! Madison’s very own science museum has plans to offer a hands-on, immersive experience with a wide spectrum of scientific experiences for both youth and adults alike, and Phase 1 is in discussions already.
Hands-on demonstrations and exhibits will abound that feature archeology, biology, climate, geology, paleontology, science history, technology, weather, and more.
This museum has plans to also be artifact-based with many objects displayed behind glass due to their level of importance.
Iacuzzo says the Madison Science Museum is proposed to be a hybrid of other science museums that some may be familiar with.
“This won’t be a children’s museum but it also won’t be New York’s American Museum of Natural History either.”
Iacuzzo says that this museum will have an extensive educational component to it, including plans to have an “international climate and environment conference once a year that will bring scientists from all over the world.”
Iacuzzo says that the museum will launch with educational opportunities “right off the bat” with hosting options for field trips, home school programs, and much more.
The Madison Science Museum proposes to also create programs for after-school, weekends, and summertime too that will be available for students in grades K-12.
The museum will impressively have a resident paleontologist as well from the College of Charleston.
One of the displays that Iacuzzo is most excited about is the 25′ long real triceratops that he hopes will be thrilling for the young and the young at heart. The dinosaur will be placed in the Exhibit Hall, which will contain an 8′ tall x 130′ wide oval wall that will replicate the natural surroundings that the triceratops lived amongst, including other wildlife that existed, 41 different plants and algae, and much more.
“We know that all of these plants existed because we found each of them in the gut of the dinosaur mummy,” shares Iacuzzo.
The proposed site for the museum will be within Town Madison, with Phase One consisting of 11,000 sq ft.
The initial phase that is being planned is proposed for one of the old Hexagon buildings recently purchased by the city for multiple uses, including police and fire substations. The museum would share this building with two classrooms and a limited number of artifact displays. These classrooms will be used to offer science programs for thousands of area public, private, and homeschooled students. More displays are proposed to be added in the future.
This plan has not been approved by Madison City Council yet, though Iacuzzo and the council are working to see this through.
The overall vision for the future museum will be a 60,000 sq ft facility that is built from the ground up, located also within Town Madison.
Iacuzzo and his team hope to create a museum experience that is roughly 90 minutes long at a minimum for most.
“Some may spend 30 minutes here while others may stay for five hours, but regardless, we’ll always have new things coming in to keep them entertained.”
Though Iacuzzo has support from residents, business owners, and corporations from all over the region, he shares that more support is like gasoline on the fire: the more support the museum garners, the faster it will expand.
The museum is proposed to be designated as a Federal Repository, which allows the Madison Science Museum to house scientifically important specimens found by research associates or that are on loan from other institutions.
When asked why Iacuzzo picked Madison to bring a science museum to, he said that it was an easy choice after discovering how much he and his wife have enjoyed living here for the past few years.
In 2018, they were living in Hawaii when their home became covered in ash from an erupting volcano that was 30 miles upward from their home. They were looking to temporarily relocate somewhere with an inexpensive cost of living at the top of their priority list, and they selected Huntsville.
They soon realized how much they loved the area, only returning to Hawaii to sell their home and then head back to Alabama.
Since then, Iacuzzo has worked tirelessly on offering the area the Alabama Science Festival STEAMfest in both 2021 and 2022. Over 7,200 guests visited this free event at the Von Braun Center in 2022.
STEAMfest 2023 will be held on October 28th, 2023 and will feature dozens of booths with hundreds of scientists, technologists, and more. Guests will enjoy many fun, hands-on demonstrations and activities. There will also be a main stage with entertainment for the whole family.
This event is geared for guests of all ages, from little ones to those interested in future STEAM careers to those who are young at heart and know that you’re never too old to learn something new.
The Madison Science Museum already has an all-star line-up of supporters including:
Iacuzzo is hopeful about the opportunity to give the area “something they need and want and that most of us personally didn’t have when we were kids.”
Iacuzzo shares that funding for the museum will come from the private sector and grants and will follow a traditional public museum model.
In a nutshell, science museums are beneficial for communities as they provide interactive and engaging experiences that foster curiosity, learning, and scientific thinking. By offering hands-on exhibits and fascinating glass displays, the Madison Science Museum will inspire guests of all ages. Due to its wide range of STEAM-related exhibits, this museum will promote critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity, while also bridging educational gaps and promoting access to scientific knowledge.
The Madison Science Museum is proposed to serve as an inclusive space that brings people together, encourage lifelong learning, and contributes to the intellectual and social growth of Madison and North Alabama as a whole.
To learn more about the Madison Science Museum, head to madscimuseum.org.
The Madison Science Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and is supported through the Innovation for Education Foundation.