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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Editorial: Tuning up MOSI

Published:   |   Updated: July 17, 2014 at 04:43 PM

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An independent audit of the Museum of Science & Industry found some serious problems, particularly with its financial system.

But what is significant about the report, scheduled to be presented to the Hillsborough County Commission today, is that the museum’s board of directors already is seeking to address the identified issues while also working to ensure MOSI continues to grow as an attraction while advancing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education.

Commissioners should monitor events, but they don’t need to lead the charge for change.

The audit identifies a number of challenges, including a confused financial system and a declining ability to pay off fiscal obligations.

It is reassuring that rather than respond defensively, the board and Executive Director Wit Ostrenko, who is scheduled to retire next year after leading the museum 27 years, intend to aggressively address shortcomings.

The report acknowledged the museum’s many successes. The nonprofit MOSI, which receives $1 million a year in taxpayer support, attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Yet the audit found board members recognized a loss of “focus” in recent years. They adopted a master plan last year that the report found “visionary,” though it recommends strategic planning await the arrival of a new CEO.

The museum, despite some challenges, remains a tremendous community resource. Commissioners should provide encouragement and scrutiny as it sets a new course for the future.

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