“I am deeply honored to have been nominated and recognized by my colleagues. It is truly gratifying to know that my efforts have made a positive impact on a local and statewide level in sharpening the focus on science literacy through the activities of the museums I have led. I am committed to cultivating the highest possible standards of museum philosophy and culture, knowing the incalculable value of museums in their communities,” Cavendish said.
Cavendish has led museums since 1981 and, during that time, has served as the chief executive officer for over 27 years at two Florida museums: Orlando Science Center and, currently, the Museum of Discovery and Science. She also served for five years as CEO of the Virginia Air and Space Center. In total, she has contributed her brand of exemplary museum leadership to the museum industry for more than 32 years.
As the chief executive officer of the Museum of Discovery and Science, Kim Cavendish spearheaded its transition from its modest beginnings as “the Discovery Center” to its establishment as a major science center with a popular IMAX Theater, which opened in 1992 after a successful $33 million campaign. She has led this museum to 25 multiple years of financial success and, more importantly, educated millions of children and families. Most recently in 2011, she opened the $25 million EcoDiscovery Center, a two-story, 34,000-square-foot addition that effectively doubled the public space of the Museum. The new EcoDiscovery Center recently achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED®) Silver certification. She has initiated the planning process for a new Science Park as the next phase in the Museum’s growth.
She earned a B.A. degree from University of Florida and also attended Duke University and George Washington University. She has received the following awards: 1990 Woman of the Year by Women in Communication; 1993 Woman of Distinction by, South Florida Magazine;
1994 Fundraising Award by Florida Association of Non-Profit Organizations; and 2008 Distinguished Alumna from Holton Arms School. She was a two-term President of the Florida Association of Museums. She has published articles on museum marketing and on managing in fiscal crisis, and has made numerous presentations on strategic planning, board development, financial management, and mining data for decision-making at the annual conferences of ASTC and AAM. She recently completed multiple terms on the Boards of Directors of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, chairing its Analyses and Trends Committee; the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, serving as its Treasurer; and the Coral Springs Museum of Art. She is currently serving as President of the Giant Screen Cinema Association after serving on the Board of Directors and chairing its Publications Committee.