The board of directors of the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo announced Monday that it is partnering with the Peery Foundation to create a matching-gift challenge to help rebuild the museum and zoo as part of the Master Planning project for Rinconada Park, according to a press release.
Size and terms of the gift as well as the scale of the fundraising campaign are under discussion and will most likely be announced after the summer, said John Aiken, executive director of the Junior Museum & Zoo.
"It's a major milestone in the history of the institution," Aiken said. "It's now over 78 years old and is in need of upgrading. The Friends have stepped forward to take a leadership role in raising the funds for that."
Aiken said the board's next step is to negotiate a letter of intent with the city of Palo Alto to "make sure everybody is on the same page in terms of what this means for a remodel."
"I've come to learn that this institution has endured in Palo Alto for reasons it's a community that's highly educated, has resources to support children and science, and I think it's a very exciting time to be looking at a rebuild because of the opportunities that new construction technologies and animal management routines, in animal collections as well as museums, are going to allow us to do something really special for the children."
Initial fundraising efforts have included donations from the late Carmen Christensen, an initial contribution by the Peery Foundation, annual support from more than 150,000 visitors each year, as well as a membership of 250 households, according to the press release.