Charlotte, NC — Discovery Place, Inc. has announced the appointment of Catherine Wilson Horne as the organization’s new president & CEO, following an extensive national search led by the Museum’s Board of Trustees. Horne will succeed John L. Mackay, Jr. who will retire at the end of December after a 13-year distinguished career at the helm of the science center. Since 2003, Catherine Wilson Horne has served as the CEO of EdVenture, a nationally-recognized children’s museum in Columbia, SC, where she achieved significant milestones in visioning, planning, fundraising, community outreach and program development. Horne will assume her responsibilities in late January 2014.
“Catherine brings a tremendous depth of understanding about both science centers and children’s museums,” said Mark McGoldrick, co-chair of Discovery Place, Inc.’s CEO Search Committee. “Out of an incredibly talented pool of candidates, we are delighted to have found someone with Catherine’s mix of leadership, imagination and knowledge plus the proven ability to engage and fundraise.”
Under Horne’s leadership, EdVenture has grown to attract more than 230,000 visitors annually and received the National Medal for Museum Service, the highest honor for United States’ museums plus the Association of Science and Technology Center’s Leading Edge Award for Business Practices. She directed the vision and planning for the children’s museum and recently led efforts to expand the facility. She has been successful in securing federal grants including a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health and major awards from the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In 2009, she was named a Noyce Leadership Fellow, a program that hones the leadership skills of those who seek to engage their communities with science, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Association of Children’s Museums.
“Catherine brings an intense personal commitment to the informal education mission of Discovery Place,” said Search Committee co-chair Joan Lorden. “Her ability to communicate the importance of that mission to the community, along with her ability to develop strategic partnerships and to build successful teams will be major assets as she assumes her new role.”
“It is an honor to join the Discovery Place team,” noted Catherine Wilson Horne. “I look forward to expanding the strong foundation built by John Mackay and to creating new opportunities for Discovery Place to engage with and provide vital educational experiences to our communities. The Discovery Place museums can bring families, schools and communities closer to the magic of hands-on learning and the wonders of science.
“Catherine joins Discovery Place at a unique point in our history,” said Chris Perri, Discovery Place board chair. “With the recent opening of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham and the planned launch of the new Discovery Place Education Studio for teacher professional development, we are poised to expand the impact of our mission significantly beyond the Charlotte region. We are excited to have Catherine join us to lead the organization toward this future.”