Homeless Museum House-Hunts

Children’s natural history museum to be built in Fremont

The Children’s Natural History Museum has been operating out of a simple office building in Centerville for years, but is now looking for a larger home in Fremont. In order to be constructed however, the museum has to be approved by both the Fremont Unified School District and the City of Fremont.

However, the museum needs almost thirty million dollars in funds from the city and a building to house itself in order to operate. The building that the museum resides in now contains many fossils, unearthed in 1868, right after a major earthquake along the Hayward fault. The non-profit organization shares space with the Math and Science Nucleus, a nonprofit educational and research organization. Unfortunately, there is not enough space in the building for the collection of fossils that were discovered or enough visibility to display them properly.

Incidentally, the Fremont Unified School District has emerged as a key supporter of the construction of the museum and has no problem moving the historical building to Central Park. Members of the museum also wish to adapt a regional geological education and research center, hoping to attract a large number of students and teachers from across the Bay Area for field trips.

Plans of converting part of the museum into a research center arise from the fact that supporters of the museum want the new building to be located at the city’s former library. The library is in close proximity to the Hayward fault, providing an advantage for the education center. In addition, it is only a few minutes away from the local BART station, another reason for residents across the Bay Area to visit the museum. The Math and Science Nucleus already receives more than 150 trips from schools and other educational centers annually.

Concerns remain, however, about whether the old library can actually be used for the construction of the new museum and whether stimulus funds will be granted. The old library, as of now, is being used for storage of old books.

Since the museum is a nonprofit organization, it cannot apply for a grant directly from the federal and state governments. The museum has asked the city for six thousand dollars to produce a grant application. In addition, the staffers of the museum have already proposed a trip to Sacramento to apply for those funds.

As of right now, a study session at City Council is being planned to discuss the proposal more thoroughly, and no formal details have been presented by the museum. Most of the city council is behind the idea, but have not made any final decisions because they are afraid to support the construction without having any detailed plans or discussions about the new proposed location of the museum.