The National Hurricane Museum & Science Center (NHMSC) has been in existence since 2005. It began as an innovative idea with a group of passionate regional volunteers from Southwest Louisiana. As residents of an area well-seasoned and experienced with the devastation of hurricanes, this group remains dedicated to the mission of helping Americans to prepare for, survive, and recover from hurricanes through scientific research and education for communities throughout the Gulf Region and the nation. Their vision is broad, seeing the NHMSC as a national leadership center for the better understanding of and coping with hurricanes. Respecting and remembering lives lived and lost in past hurricanes remains another focus for the organization.
A series of grants have advanced the project to its current state. A rigorous master plan has been completed including architectural conceptual design and an exciting slate of interactive exhibitions and educational experiences. During the master-planning phase, America’s Wetland Discovery Center joined forces with the NHMSC to create a single integrated interpretive center and educational initiative. In October of 2011, a referendum to locate the NHMSC in a prime lakefront site within the downtown economic development area was approved by the citizens of Lake Charles with a resounding 70% vote of approval, demonstrating authentic grass-roots appreciation of and support for the project. This clear and tangible vote of support energized Lake Charles’ City Council and Mayor Randy Roach and emboldened the NHMSC Board to move assertively to secure the funds to build the museum in Lake Charles.
Last December, the NHMSC completed the first fundraising milestone raising sufficient funds to initiate the development of a fundraising plan and materials for a capital campaign. Finally, the continuing strengthening of the Board provided additional energy and access to important networks. While still acknowledging the scale and challenge of the task ahead, the NHMSC team is ready to roll up its sleeves and get to work raising the funds to bring the idea to life.