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Big changes underway at ‘new’ downtown Bradenton museum | Opinion

Formerly the South Florida Museum, it’s now ‘The Bishop’

The South Florida Museum in Bradenton has been renamed The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature.
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The South Florida Museum in Bradenton has been renamed The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature.

Have you heard the exciting news? The South Florida Museum is now The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature.

We announced this major change earlier this month and have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our supporters and members of the community, who have applauded this move as yet another downtown improvement that will help increase Bradenton’s impact on the region.

It’s a change that the museum has been contemplating for some time; it was first discussed in the late 2000s as our leadership developed a strategic plan to guide the organization in the coming decades. In 2016 — as the revitalization of downtown Bradenton was in full swing — we began a more formal exploration of our name and identity.

We weren’t sure where the process would lead, but we knew we no longer wanted to be the region’s “best kept secret” or its beautiful “hidden gem” — terms used to describe us for far too long. We also knew that we needed a name that would serve our visitors better by truly reflecting who we are, where we came from, where we are going — and that didn’t place us in Miami, 200 miles to the south!

Our new name, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, does all those things by making it clear to visitors that we’re about the exploration of science and nature — from the infinitesimal to the infinite, as we like to say. The name also honors our roots by recognizing the longstanding contributions made by two of our earliest supporters, Edward and Lillian Bishop, known as Ned and Patty to their friends.

The Bishops moved to our area in the mid-1910s and quickly became involved in the betterment of the region through volunteerism and philanthropy — in fact, you probably already recognize the Bishop name from our planetarium or one of the other community groups they supported.

Now, by elevating the Bishop name, we allow it to take its rightful place in the museum’s story and honor the family’s unwavering support over the past seven decades.

Along with our new name, of course, comes a brand new logo that captures the excitement of a community undergoing a major revitalization.

How the designers of the new logo for the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, formerly the South Florida Museum, created what is called the “Bishop B.”

Unveiling our new name and our new logo is just the beginning of what the future holds as we continue to evolve. While our commitment to engaging and inspiring learners of all ages as we protect, interpret and communicate scientific and cultural knowledge will never change, look for more exciting news later this year as we unveil our major expansion, the North Education Center and Mosaic Backyard Universe at The Bishop.

Great things are happening in Bradenton and The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is at the heart of it all — we invite you to come for a visit to see for yourself!

Brian Carter is president of the board of trustees for the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. Brynne Anne Besio is chief executive officer of the museum.

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