Out50: Joseph Cox

Joseph Cox

Ask the Museum of Discovery and Science’s (MODS) new executive director Joseph Cox how he ended up in his career and he’ll share a funny story:

“It was completely by accident,” he recalled. “I was trying to put off working as long as possible.” 

Cox, then an undergrad environmental science major in his native England, happened by his advisor’s office and “saw a poster of a guy in khaki shorts holding a snake and talking to a group of kids. Outside the window there were palm trees. Six weeks later, I was on a British Airways plane bound for Naples (Florida),” where he took an internship at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center. 

Within four years, he was promoted to director. Cox was then recruited to found the Golisano Children’s Museum in Naples, where he led the design, fundraising and construction of a $25 million, 30,000 sq. ft. facility. Most recently, he was president of the EcoTarium in Massachusetts, New England’s leading science and nature museum.

But, Cox couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to Florida 18 months ago.

“I love the energy, the vibrancy of the community, the growth and collaborative nature,” he said of his new home. “Everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and work together and that’s always been my approach to things.”

Since coming to MODS, Cox has overseen a comprehensive program to make the museum welcoming for LGBT families and his staff is planning the first Pride Family Day on June 22.

— JW Arnold 



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