Despite having a growing population and a burgeoning university, Fargo does not have a science museum.
Jessie Rock, a geology professor at North Dakota State, is trying to change this by applying for a grant through the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation to fund her own mobile earth science education trailer.
Rock said she has been using her own vehicle and her own spare time to carry a full load of artifacts and equipment with her to schools and events.
This process is strenuous, according to Rock. “I am loading, unloading, packing. Things are breaking. My back … hurts sometimes.”
Rock said she thinks the trailer would be a hit because, “If I were a kid, I would love something like that coming through my neighborhood, like an ice cream truck or a bookmobile.”
With the nearest major science museum 235 miles away in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rock said she wants to make science a tangible reality to children who might not have the means to travel that far.
Rock is not alone in her enthusiasm for this project.
Since the Fargo Forum published an article about her outreach, Rock said she has gotten emails from people who are ready to donate. Schools have reached out to see when Rock could come visit, and other scientists have emailed asking how they can help.
According to Rock, the FM Area Foundation matches proposals with up to $15,000 in funding. The organization only excepts four applicants from NDSU.
“We’re all trying to convince this foundation that we are going to bring something unique and necessary to the community,” Rock said.
The ultimate goal for Rock is a science museum in Fargo.
Rock said she sees the need for a Fargo science museum in the enthusiasm of the people she meets when she does events. “The adults are just as excited as the kids.”
According to Rock, the parents of the kids that are at the events “ask great questions and want to see more.”
Rock, being a parent herself, said she wants a museum to take her family to.
The museum would have no problem with staffing because of the wealth of scientists that live in our area, Rock said. “I can’t imagine the collections and donations that would come in.”
Rock provided a study by the American Alliance of Museums that showed museums provided over 700,000 jobs and $50 billion in 2016.