The International Surfing Museum reopened late last year to reveal a fresh, modernized interior with more space to showcase what Huntington Beach does best. Now the local institution has more big news. On the heels of two phases of renovations, the iconic art deco building will expand from its current 2,000 square feet to a much grander 7,000 square feet.
Natalie Kotsch founded the museum over 27 years ago, but before she succumbed to a long bout with cancer in February, she blessed the expansion. Inhabiting the ground floor of a new three-story mixed-use building at the corner of Fifth Street and Olive Avenue, the separate 5,000-square-foot addition will take approximately two years to complete. A developer has yet to sign on to the project.
Obviously, museum staffers couldn't be happier.
Museum Director Cindy Cross says of the development, "The enormous generosity of the property owners in allowing us to be a part of this project is something we could not have possibly imagined," adding, "The property owners have shared with us their passion for the sport and culture of surfing, and feel strongly that the town known as Surf City should have the finest surfing museum possible." With the support of the property owners, the City of HB and the developer, "the museum will have the space and security to pursue the truly world-class facility this city deserves," says Cross.
Already housing curated exhibits highlighting local artists and key historic moments in surfing, the museum's evolution will give its team the green light to explore other areas of education and entertainment, including a permanent exhibit covering the entire history of surfing, a small theater, a research library, additional exhibits and educational programs.
Details are far from concrete, but updates and renderings will be presented at the VIP opening of "Century of Stoke," the museum's exhibit honoring 100 years of surfing at the HB Pier, on June 20. In addition to unveiling the master plan, the event will kick off a $2 million fundraiser to make it all happen.