The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will now operate the Lafayette Science Museum, which will be renamed the University of Louisiana Science Museum at Lafayette.
This is the finalization of a partnership with LCG that was first announced last year. At the time — July 2021 — Mayoral President Josh Guillory said details would be released in five to 10 weeks.
The Guillory administration fired nearly every museum employee and recommended major cuts to the operating budget in 2020. This was the same time similar cuts and major cuts were proposed for the Parks and Recreation Department. To read about it, click here.
Under the terms of the agreement announced Thursday, the institution will be renamed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Science Museum. UL Lafayette’s plans for the downtown museum include expanded, interdisciplinary exhibitions, enhanced programs and resources to engage learners of all ages, a cafe, gift shop and rental options for public events.
The university already has a presence at the museum. The School of Geosciences has operated the UL Lafayette Museum of Geology there since 2013 under an intergovernmental agreement with Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Dr. Joseph Savoy, president of UL Lafayette, called the new operating agreement “a natural evolution of the relationship we’ve had with LCG and the museum for nearly a decade.”
“Partnering with LCG to manage the facility increases the university’s visibility in the city center and deepens our connection with the community. It enhances our outreach mission by giving the public an opportunity to learn about — and learn from — the important research being done here,” Savoy said.
Dr. Azmy S. Ackleh is dean of UL Lafayette’s Ray P. Authement College of Sciences, who will oversee science museum operations. He noted that many US universities operate museum and archival facilities in collaboration with state institutions.
“Top-tier universities like UL Lafayette create partnerships like these because they are effective in bringing research to the public through engaging programs, activities and educational experiences that foster interest in STEM disciplines and foster a love of lifelong learning,” Ackleh said.
“They also provide excellent engagement and recruitment opportunities” through lectures and workshops and by highlighting student and faculty research through public events, “all of which this partnership with LCG will enable us to do and that private contributions will help us improve,” Ackle said.
The University’s Museum of Geology, located in the Science Museum, has more than 2,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 1,500-square-foot vertebrate paleontology laboratory for students and faculty.
Dr. Jennifer Hargrave said the LCG-University partnership allows for expansion to include exhibits and information from other College of Science disciplines. Hargrave is director of the UL Lafayette Science Museum and senior instructor in the School of Geosciences.
“In addition to providing the dynamic exhibits our visitors are used to seeing at the museum, we plan to offer programs and resources to make science accessible to all.” The partnership between the university and LCG is an opportunity to promote scientific learning and foster curiosity in our community and beyond,” she said.
The Science Museum of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is located at 433 Jefferson St. Visit the museum’s website [u12097671.ct.sendgrid.net] to find information about exhibits and opening hours. It will be open this Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 1pm to 6pm.
As part of the agreement between the university and LCG, the city will retain ownership of the museum building, while revenue from ticket sales, concessions, gift shop purchases and event rentals will benefit facility operations.