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Cade Celebrates Gallery Naming and One Million Dollar Donation from Tony & Olga Barr

 A toast to Tony and Olga Barr at the gallery naming celebration in honor of their incredible contributions to the Cade Museum

Press release from the Cade Museum

Ascend the spiral staircase of the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention, and you’ll see parents and kids navigating colorful exhibits and busying themselves with hands-on activities that spark curiosity about the groundbreaking concepts on display—a typical day in the museum’s state-of-the-art Tony & Olga Barr Gallery.

In December 2020, the Barrs completed a $1 million donation to the Cade, and, in their honor, the museum recently installed the donors’ names atop a second-story, 2600 square-foot gallery space.

A celebration commemorating the naming of the Tony + Olga Barr Gallery took place at the Cade Museum on April 16, 2021

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On April 16, the museum commemorated the milestone with an exclusive celebration that invited friends of the family to hors d’oeuvres and mingling in the museum’s rotunda. The event kicked off with a toast to the naming of the Tony & Olga Barr Gallery followed by a dinner, Edison phonograph demonstration by a Cade Educator, desserts, and mingling.

“Tony Barr has shared with us his passion for science and experiments and his belief that individuals have the power within themselves to create and invent,” said Stephanie Bailes, CEO of the Cade Museum. “He recognizes a spark in kids visiting the museum—a spark he enjoyed himself from a young age, being inspired by the inventors living within his hometown. He hopes to instill in his community’s youth his love for the STEM concepts that inspired him to become an inventor and computer programmer. In fact, one of his favorite quotes comes from one of the greatest inventors of all time, Leonardo Da Vinci: ‘The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.’”

As a result of the tremendous gift, more young Cade visitors and kids in the community might follow in Barr’s footsteps. While Barr earned his master’s in physics, he later discovered computer science, where he could mine new algorithms, languages, and applications. Tony Barr’s company A Model of Reality (AMOR) challenges the status quo through the development of a new theory of computing and knowledge representation.

Tony Barr has contributed to the computer industry for more than 58 years, developing programs in academia and private enterprise. He created SAS, a computer system that innovated data analysis in industry, government, research, and academia.

Tony and Olga Barr at the gallery naming celebration

The programming language designer, software engineer and inventor has also automated lumber yield optimization and the Automated Classification of Medical Entities (ACME). Tony Barr’s wife, Olga, is a former professional runner from Russia who is now an RN.

The Cade Museum was founded by Dr. James Robert Cade, lead inventor of the team that developed Gatorade. Because of the Cade’s name and its relationship to Gatorade, many assume that the institution’s financial needs are met. However, Dr. Cade’s partial Gatorade trust covers less than one fifth of the museum’s operations. It is also a common misconception that the Cade is affiliated with the state university system, which it is not.

The Barrs’ donation was urgently needed, especially during the pandemic. Required funding must be generated through museum operations, grants, and individual gifts. While the Cade Museum continues to need support, Barr’s donation was crucial for sustaining the museum during the COVID-19 closure and subsequent months of limited programming and admission capacity.

The Barrs’ donation helped the Cade Museum pivot quickly during the COVID-19 closure. The museum was able to develop a digital Cade at Home series, while installing cleaning and safety measures for re-opening.

The Cade moved many of its crucial outreach programs to fully digital or hybrid digital and in-person programming. For example, Operation Full STEAM and the Living Inventor Series (LIS) were moved online for the 2020-2021 school year. Operation Full STEAM is a multi-year program that provides intensive educational experiences to prevent students from falling behind in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. During the 2020-2021 school year, the Cade dropped off activity kits at the schools and then led the activities virtually. LIS introduces students to world class inventors and science concepts aligning with their invention. The Cade Museum brings science to life through personal stories brought to students in their classrooms, now in a digital format. Incidentally, Tony Barr has been a featured inventor in LIS.

“I believe in the mission of the Cade to Spark Wonder and Invent Possible” Tony Barr said. “As a child, I read the biographies of Ben Franklin, Marconi, Alexander Graham Bell, Wright Brothers, and Sikorsky. Visiting the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the Museum of Natural History in New York City filled me with wonder. My childhood interests are addressed right here in Gainesville by The Cade, and I believe it will attract our young people to the STEM fields.”