07 March 2013
Posted in History and Future
The Orlando Science Center and the Loch Haven Park community lost one of its founding partners last month.
Henry Kubik Jr. was a part of the visionary committee that saw Loch Haven Park as a cultural center. What was originally orange-grove land is now home to Orlando Science Center, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando Fire Museum and Orlando Garden Club. From the late 1940s through the 1950s, Mr. Kubik and other civic leaders set about their goal of transforming the area into the cultural hub it is today.
Part of their mission was to establish a science museum; the concept was incorporated in 1955. With the relocation of a branch of the Glenn L. Martin Co. in south Orlando in 1956 (now Lockheed Martin), it created a spark of local interest in science and technology and gave steam to the initiative.
In 1960, the Central Florida Museum and Planetarium officially opened to the public. It was the first building to go up in Loch Haven Park and would eventually be known as Orlando Science Center.
Thanks to Mr. Kubik and other like-minded people, the science center has evolved into what it is today. The science center’s current home boasts four floors of exhibit space, seven classrooms, two theaters, a preschool, an observatory and a science store. More than 375,000 people visit every year and has provided hands-on science learning to 11 million people since its inception.
Mr. Kubik’s interest in the potential science center began while a member of the Orlando Junior Chamber of Commerce. An advocate for arts and culture, he joined the committee to establish Loch Haven Park as a cultural center.
In 1957, Mr. Kubik was elected president of the board of trustees for the Central Florida Museum. It was during his three-year tenure that the major funds were raised and construction began. On May 2, 1961, Mr. and Mrs. Kubik Jr. were recognized as a founder and life member of the Central Florida Museum.
Join Orlando Science Center and the Loch Haven Park community in remembering Mr. Kubik and the mark he left in the Central Florida community.
The slideshow below depicts milestones in the realization of Mr. Kubik and others’ vision.