ISLAMORADA, FL – After more than eight years serving as executive director of the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation (FKHDF), and playing a key role in bringing the Foundation’s vision for a thriving not-for-profit world class museum – the Keys History & Discovery Center – to fruition, Jill Miranda Baker has announced that she will be departing from her leadership position as Executive Director at the end of this year to pursue other opportunities.

During her time with the FKHDF, she worked tirelessly to grow the organization and ensure its success into the future. During her tenure, the FKHDF has:

  • Secured a generous $1 million donation from Ken Meeks and his late wife Dee, that allowed for the establishment of a long-term endowment to fund the future of the organization.
  • Introduced and grew a successful annual membership program and created the well-attended ‘Keys History & Discovery Center Presents’ annual lecture series, offering educational and engaging content for attendees through inviting historians, professors, authors and scientists as presenters.
  • Developed strong partnerships with other not-for-profits and government agencies, including Mote Marine Laboratory and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, which ultimately led to the addition of permanent exhibits reflective of the area’s unique coral reef ecosystem and flats fisheries.
  • Introduced an annual signature event, A Night at the Museum, including a virtual event in 2020, raising more than $300,000 over the last four years.

“Serving as the inaugural executive director is a role of a lifetime,” said Miranda Baker. “I worked with the most passionate staff of Brad Bertelli and Erin Muir as well as the Board, comprised of community leaders, to turn blank blue walls into something spectacular for which our volunteers, members, community and general visitors are amazed by at every turn.”

“Jill’s leadership was critical in navigating unique challenges including post-Hurricane Irma recovery and a global pandemic,” said Charter Member and Board Vice Chair Bob Lodge.  “She will be greatly missed by the staff, board, volunteers, and partners who had the opportunity to work with her in furthering the FKHDF’s mission to support a world-class history and discovery center that accurately reflects our Florida Keys in a multi-faceted and interactive environment.”

The Board has launched a national search for a new executive director who will help lead the organization to even greater visibility and impact in the Florida Keys community and beyond.

“The Board of the FKHDF will be forever grateful to Jill for the talent, dedication, and expertise she brought to her role as executive director,” said Founding Board Member and Chair Rich Russell.  “We also look forward to a seamless transition to the next chapter in the FKHDF’s continuing evolution in providing residents and visitors alike with enhanced opportunities to understand and appreciate the unique history, culture and environment of the Florida Keys.”