Honoring her father's legacy

Phoebe Cade Miles is a driving force behind the ideal monument to the creator of Gatorade — the Cade Museum of Innovation and Invention


Phoebe Cade MIles with her husband, Richard Miles.

Photo courtesy of Phoebe Cade Miles
Published: Friday, January 15, 2010 at 8:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 at 8:21 a.m.

Phoebe Cade Miles' official residence may be Washington, D.C., where her husband, a Foreign Service officer, is based. But Miles, the daughter of Gatorade founder, the late Dr. Robert Cade and his wife, Mary, is one of the most active members of the Gainesville nonprofit community.

Miles was a co-founder with her parents and siblings of the family's Gloria Dei Foundation in 2004 to provide grants to innovative nonprofit groups that promote the common good according to Christian principles. She currently serves as president.

But the most ambitious project to date for the mother of three is her work as president and founder of The Cade Museum Foundation. The foundation is the umbrella organization for The Cade Museum of Innovation and Invention, a major museum and educational complex scheduled to open in Gainesville.

Not only is the project part of the reclamation of an abandoned brownfield near downtown, but the museum will be part of the transformation of Gainesville from an exporter of products to an exporter of ideas, Miles says.

As a center for creativeness and inventiveness, the museum will be the fruition of the dreams and diverse interests of Cade, who invented Gatorade in 1965. (He died in 2007.)  And fittingly, given the emphasis on the synergy of creativity and inventiveness, a virtual version of the museum will be online, possibly by late 2010. 

Groundbreaking for the 55,000-square-foot museum complex is anticipated for 2011. "Nobody has done this before," Miles says, noting such a virtual museum would allow a statewide curriculum program in creativity and innovation, online exhibits, and various ways to design and refine the physical layout before construction. The museum would literally be open worldwide, 24 hours a day.

Early 2010 will be a pivotal time for the development of the museum as it reaches out to the community. And an exceptionally busy year for Miles, 45, and her husband Richard Miles, also 45, who has taken a year's leave from the Foreign Service, after duty in Iraq, to serve as the interim executive director. (Both are graduates of Buchholz High School — Phoebe Cade Miles in 1981 and Richard Miles in 1982. They are also graduates of the University of Washington.)

This year, through the foundation, the couple will work to create the first community board, actively recruiting people involved in various aspects of science, technology, and the arts. They'll interview candidates for the positions of fund-raising director and director of development, as well. Also on tap are securing temporary rental quarters downtown for the museum foundation.

While much of the museum foundation's work is at the nuts and bolts stage, Miles keeps her focus on the mission: the blending of art and science and technology — maximizing the synergy of both the left and right brain — that is crucial for innovation. And, as she says, it was a guiding principle of her father's own life and work. Although Cade is remembered as an inventor and scientist, he was also a physician and musician, who loved American history and music.

Miles' father had always wanted to open a museum to house his collection of antique Studebaker automobiles, Miles says her goal was to create something beyond a family museum and beyond typical static exhibits. Although the foundation started in 2004 with two of her father's collections — antique violins and the Studebakers — the purpose from the beginning was not to be a collection-base museum.

"We wanted to be a community museum, and tell a much larger story, the story of innovation in Gainesville," she says. Naturally one significant part, Miles says, is the story of Gatorade and the long process that eventually led to the Office of Technology Licensing at UF. Because it was possible to trademark, rather than simply patent Gatorade, an ongoing source of royalties was guaranteed.

The distinction isn't arcane and will play a role eventually in a museum exhibit relating to history and innovation. "We have a unique history like no other country because many of our founding fathers — Jefferson and Franklin and Washington — were inventors and scientists," Miles says. "Intellectual property rights are enshrined into our system of government. It is an exciting heritage to have." Such a heritage created a society where new ideas are valued and flourished, a fact that will be evident as creativity and innovation are linked through museum programs and exhibits.

The timing couldn't be better to demonstrate the interdisciplinary concept of creativity, how teaching and experiencing both science and the arts are necessary for an innovative, flourishing society, Miles says. "When budgets are tight, the first things that are cut out are art, music and creative inventiveness," she says. "Together, that is descriptive of what we are doing. Many of the students that are helped the most [by programs in the art] struggle in traditional subjects. When those programs are cut out, they have more problems."

As an example of the importance of music and what can be done with even limited programs, one of the museum's first community activities is a violin and viola loan program, which lends string instruments from the collection for the academic year to third-year University of Florida music majors. In return, the musicians will give three community concerts at the new Cancer Hospital at Shands, Miles said. "It's a perfect example of the interdisciplinary approach."

And a perfect example of the many creative innovations to come.

Learn More

For more information on the project and artist concepts of the museum go to www.cademuseum.org

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