Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

NORTH EDUCATION COMPLEX

Bishop Museum, North Education ComplexSOUTHWEST REGION
$23 million TOTAL PROJECT
$12 million FCLF FEDERAL NMTC ALLOCATION
Expansion of existing facility and new construction designed to target disadvantaged youth with STEM education
193 Temporary and 37 Permanent Jobs estimated

“We are grateful to FCLF for helping make this transformative expansion possible and bring a new learning resource to our community. Our partnership with FCLF has enabled us to benefit from the New Markets Tax Credits program, taking us over the finish line in making the North Education Complex a reality.” – Brynne Anne Besio, CEO, South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium


The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature (formerly the South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium) is the largest natural and cultural history museum in Southwest Florida, serving 10 counties. With NMTC financing, the Museum built the North Education Complex which includes the Mosaic Backyard Universe, a new 23,000 sq-ft addition with classroom and exhibit space specifically designed to break down barriers to STREAM education - science, technology, reading, engineering, arts, and math - in nearby disadvantaged neighborhoods and area schools and expand the facility’s capability to reach more low-income students.

The Museum has a priority goal of targeting schools in Bradenton’s low-income urban core, serving 11,350 Title I students each year after expansion ‒ a 77% increase. Low-income visitors to the Museum are also expected to more than double, from 15,626 in 2016 to a projected 37,000 annually after expansion. All school programs are based on Florida Standards for STEM and arts and are created with the input of local educators from both public and private schools. 

Professional development is another important part of the Bishop Museum’s current and future work. This includes training for teachers, undergraduate coursework for university students, and internship programs. The NMTC expansion will allow the Museum to reach an estimated 300 educators per year.

Founded in the 1940s by residents who wanted to preserve local history, The Bishop Museum offers a diversity of programs and delivery systems from which to learn and explore in the areas of environmental science, astronomy, archaeology, paleontology, geology, math, local and global history, and the arts as they relate to the natural sciences. Additionally, the Museum offers a state-of-the-art digital Planetarium and a Manatee Rehabilitation Aquarium.

Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) provided $12 million in federal NMTCs for the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. The investor on the project is PNC Bank. Whitney Hancock Bank provided additional financing. This transaction was finalized in November 2017. In 2020 FCLF provided emergency working capital as part of its COVID-19 relief financing.

As a major factor in long-term plans for area redevelopment, the project has been planned in close collaboration with the Bradenton CRA, Manatee County Chamber of Commerce, and the Manatee County Neighborhood Services Department. This expansion is Phase I of a long-range plan for the Museum’s future, as well as a catalyst for future development.

“South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium has been situated in downtown Bradenton for over 70 years. Thanks to NMTC, this mainstay of the downtown area is undergoing an extraordinary new expansion of its grounds and the services it provides. The North Education Complex expansion has been designed to break down barriers in reaching low-income students and increasing participation in STEM education. The flexibility of NMTC provides an opportunity to revitalize the urban core and create long lasting community impact.” – Nelson Black, FCLF Chief Lending Officer

Community Profile:

  • Bradenton, FL – Bradenton CRA District
  • 18.2% Unemployment Rate – 2.3x National Average
  • Brownfield, TIF District

To download this information as a pdf file, click here.
For more information, visit The Bishop Museum website, www.bishopscience.org

Pictured above: exterior of the addition to the Bishop Museum of science and nature after the addition. Below, museum building prior to addition, and interior photos of new education complex.

S FL Museum current   Bishop Museum ribbon cutting   Bishop Museum, Backyard Exhibit

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Core Purpose FCLF exists to maximize opportunities for people and places outside of the economic mainstream.
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