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Why do they call it that? The museum that's not a museum | News

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Why do they call it that? The museum that's not a museum
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The Museum of Science and Industry -- MOSI -- in Tampa is a perfect place for a weekend trip with the kids. But, get this, technically the museum isn't a "museum" at all!

Why do they call it MOSI?

Rain, planes, brains, electricity explained, even fake hurricanes! There's so much to see and learn at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry -- MOSI.

Or, is as it used to be pronounced, Mossy.

"In the early days, the initials were used M-O-S-I. But it was pronounced 'mossy' -- like the green moss that grows on trees," said MOSI President Wit Ostrenko.

"So, finally, as we got the facility open, we started expanding it, we went to 'mosey' -- like moseying along."

For more than two decades, Ostrenko has run MOSI, showing off the practical side of science.

But the story of this amazing place goes back much further -- 50 years.

In the 1960's Hillsborough County created a youth museum. That got the name Museum of Science and Natural History.

It's easy to see how that name evolved from "Science and Natural History" to "Science and Industry," right? Not quite. The name took a detour to something totally different.

After Museum of Science and Natural History was dropped, "it was called the Hillsborough County Museum," Ostrenko said. 

That name stuck for a decade -- but was replaced by the Center for Science and Industry.

"Then, in the current location here on Fowler, there was a lot of planning going on, and it was changed to the Museum of Science and Industry," Ostrenko said.

But there's a problem with that name.

"Museum" of Science and Industry is technically not accurate. Museums have collections of old stuff. At MOSI, it's all about cool exhibits and experiences.

"And we don't want it to be a 'museum.' That's where you collect things and put things in cases," Ostrenko explained.

Much of what they have at MOSI can't fit into cases.

They do things big: Big bones. Big breakthroughs. And big, big, big IMAX movies.

But this stunning science center all started so small. Fifty years ago, with the one thing they love more than anything else at MOSI -- an idea.

Why do they call it that? Now you know.

There's also a Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The two science centers are not affiliated with each other.

We feature new "Why do they call it that?" stories each Wednesday on 10 News at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Check out previous editions of the Emmy-nominated series at our "Why do they call it that?" website: wtsp.com/callitthat.

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