From the President & CEO - Rob Steele

"What a blessed truth to understand that, in the middle of all of our difficulties and calamities, we have a refuge."

- Aiden Wilson Tozer

After a year-long closure for much-needed restoration, the iconic House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar is now officially reopened! The beloved "House" has received a comprehensive interior refit of all four buildings on the campus. All the exhibits have been recreated to authentically showcase the line of remarkable stories that have evolved on that site, covering the island’s first inhabitants, the Ais Indians, up through the historic presence of the Lifesaving Service, the US Coast Guard, the US Navy, and Ross Witham's Turtle Rescue operation. The exterior spaces have also undergone extensive repairs, and the remaining outside projects will be completed "on the fly" in 2023.

The fact that this treasured landmark still stands after 148 years is hard to explain. The House has endured 22 hurricanes and the near continual pounding of the tropical elements. It is the last of 10 houses of refuge in the State of Florida. But somehow, it still stands as a testament to the quality materials and craftsmanship of its original construction, as well as to this community's resolute commitment to preserve this precious piece of history.

The House of Refuge is unquestionably the most photographed and iconic structure on the Treasure Coast, and if you haven't visited in awhile, please put the "House" on your list of things to do! The Boathouse building now serves as a welcome and interpretive center with live weather, water, and surf information, and it’s a convenient outpost to purchase soft drinks, snacks, and last minute beach supplies for the scores of people who frequent the site to enjoy the sand, the sea, and the views. 

We have planned a tantalizing offering of events to keep visitors coming back time and again to enjoy the House of Refuge throughout the year. I welcome you to take in the live concerts, lectures, and group tours. This stunning vista also makes an unforgettable setting for private event rentals and weddings. 

"A warm smile is the universal language of kindness."  -  William Arthur Ward

The Historical Society of Martin County lost a dear friend in December. Mr. Jerry Hill has moved on to the great restaurant/tennis court/golf course in the sky, and heaven is lucky to have him. Jerry's million-dollar smile is well known to anyone who has ever crossed his path. He could warm up a room in an instant and did so without the slightest trace of effort. Jerry liked everyone, and his selfless kindness was his hallmark.

I was fortunate enough to meet Jerry 50 years ago when I was a cook in one of his Bill Knapps restaurants in Michigan. I remember Jerry smiling as he greeted all the new hires from behind his desk at the Bill Knapp's commissary in Battle Creek, Michigan. I promise you that thousands of others could recant the same story virtually verbatim.

Jerry and his emotional support dog, Shiloh, made over a thousand visits to struggling patients in Michigan and Florida. The peace they brought to patients and families over the course of their mission together is remarkable. Jerry wrote a captivating book entitled "Shiloh Speaks" that details many of their most memorable encounters, and it is difficult to make your way through the pages with dry eyes.  

From all of us who knew and loved you, Godspeed, Jerry Hill.

Per Jerry’s wish, here is a link to make a donation to the Elliott in his name.

Warm regards,


Support today ... or tomorrow

Yes, it’s possible to support three organizations -- the Historical Society of Martin County (HSMC), The Elliott Museum and the House of Refuge — with financial gifts today or tomorrow. 

How? Today your financial support can be through membership, donations, or our sustained giving program, The Sterling Society. The Society provides significant and consistent funding to the HSMC over a five year period with annual giving levels starting at $2,500.

This significant and consistent commitment provides funding that offers stability and an increased ability to forecast and plan for the future of The Elliott and the House of Refuge. And there are incredible benefits of Sterling Society Membership. For complete information, please visit or access this QR code using the camera on your phone.

Tomorrow you can support HSMC, the Elliott, and the House of Refuge by including HSMC in your estate planning. What a great way to support the museums you love with no financial outlay today! The HSMC Legacy Society offers you amazing benefits and an opportunity to make extraordinary, impactful gifts so that our treasured museums will continue to enrich, educate, entertain, and engage future generations.

For complete information, please visit or access this QR code using the camera on your phone. 

You are always welcome to contact me directly – in fact meeting and talking with you is what I prefer. You may reach me at 772-225-1961, ext. 110 or [email protected]

With gratitude,


Director of Development

Johnny Cash dinner & show January 4

Come and enjoy this indoor dinner and show at Philly Down South's Bar & Restaurant on the second floor of the Elliott Museum. Additional shows are on January 11, featuring all things Elvis, and January 18, featuring Neil Diamond songs. Call 561-718-9733 to make your reservation today!

You're also invited to dine at the outdoor Tiki hut at the Elliott Museum Tuesday through Saturday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Friday and Saturday nights, there will be live music with The Hut being open from 6 to 9 p.m. and food being served until 8 p.m. Come and enjoy great food while listening to live music! 

To hear great local talent, check out the Open Mic session every Saturday from noon until 3 p.m. There’s no museum admission if you're just coming to eat or sip a beverage at the restaurant. If you're planning a party for your organization or family, host it at the Elliott for a truly unique and memorable event.

Join us for a candid discussion with Abigail Rockwell

Wednesday, January 11, from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Abigail Rockwell will be speaking about her grandfather, Norman Rockwell, and his life, work and the recently published Definitive Edition of his classic 1960 autobiography. She will be answering questions and discussing her insights of his inspiration, life and legacy.

“What will be different about this book talk? After four years of madness with my own family and in the world, I have a perspective on Pop’s (Norman Rockwell) work I’ve never had before. I understand the relevance of his work on a deeper level… because that’s the level he was usually painting from with his storytelling images.” – Abigail Rockwell

There will be appetizers and a cash bar for this event. FREE for members and $10 for non-members. RSVP by giving us a call (772) 225-1961 – Seating is limited. This event is sponsored by Judy Yaker.

How about a "12-string guitar on steroids" concert?

Start the New Year RIGHT! Flint Blade will star in one of the Elliott's “Troubadour Sessions," 7:30 p.m.,

January 12.

Start 2023 with the ambient beats and grooves of the Chapman Stick, a 12-string guitar-on-steroids. Blade is best known for creating live, uplifting soundscapes of voice, beatbox and the Chapman Stick, a unique guitar/bass tapping instrument. 


Drawing influence from dub reggae, jazz and world music, Flint crafts his own unique "jambient" style of music with recent performances incorporating steelpan, electronic production and hoop dance on stage. Based in southern Florida, Flint tours nationally and has produced, recorded and published his own albums since 2005, establishing his own label “In Love Records” in 2014.

Admission is $20 online at or $25 at the door. Seating is limited to 75 guests.

The fantastic new tiki “Hut” will be open for dinner and drinks before this performance with a full bar outside the Forum throughout the show.

Only 13 vehicles available to adopt

A new year, a new opportunity to adopt a vehicle from the Elliott's impressive permanent collection. There are only 13 vehicles left for adoption and they include cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bikes. 

To view complete information about the Adopt-a-Car program, please visit or access this QR code using the camera on your phone. Here you’ll find the available vehicles, a description of each, and an order form. You may also contact me, Linda Prange, director of development, at 772-221-1961, ext. 110, or by email, [email protected], with any questions or to check availability.

Fundraising concert on January 27

The Kris Heaton Band will be performing on January 10 at the Philly Down South Tiki Hut at the Elliott Museum and then again on January 27 as a fundraiser. Kris has a charity — Wheels of Hope — and each month he purchases food for 30-35 families. You can check out his new release, One World, here.

Complimentary wine & cheese travel talk January 24

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 5:30 p.m., the Elliott is hosting a Travel Talk by travel professional Patty Bell for our upcoming Ionian Sea AdventureApril 24 – May 4, 2024. The Ionian Sea Adventure will give you the opportunity to sail aboard a luxurious Emerald superyacht through Southern Italy, Sicily and the Greek Isles. Click here for details.


Mark your travel calendar for these future all-inclusive trips. Space for each of these tours is limited. You can register early for free airfare offers and additional savings!

Travels with the Elliott

FREE AIR promotion extended for all bookings

through January 31, 2023!

Just a few cabins left! Don't miss the next exciting Elliott Museum travel adventure — Tulip Time on Jewels of the Rhine! Sail through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland aboard a luxurious Emerald River Cruise Star Ship, April 6-16, 2023. There are many amenities of this all-inclusive tour, including FREE AIR promotion extended for all bookings through January 31, 2023. Travelers will enjoy some of the most beautiful cities and gardens of Europe at the peak of spring’s full bloom! Space is limited. Click here for details.


Christmas in Opryland in Nashville will be from November 26- December 1, 2023 and will feature the Opryland Holiday Show, General Jackson Riverboat and the Grand Ole Opry. Click here for more information.

Celebrate a loved one with an engraved brick

Holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, in honor of, in memory of … so many reasons to Buy a Brick. This uniquely perfect gift keeps giving your love for many years to come!

Each brick costs $250 and may contain three lines of your personalized message. You will find a Buy a Brick order form and complete information at If you have any questions, please contact Linda Prange, director of development, at 772-225-1961, ext. 110, or via email, [email protected].

Be a part of out-of-this-world creativity!

For an explanation, view this video!

Artists' Talk & Reception "Free Electrons"

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Free for members, $10 for non-members

“Free Electrons” is a display of artwork from extraordinary award-winning artists, Danuta Rothschild and Torenzo Gann, at the Elliott Museum on the second floor. The exhibit is included with the Elliott Museum’s regular admission.

Danuta Rothschild is an internationally known, respected award-winning artist. A native of Poland, she has lived in California and is now located in Stuart. Her works have been shown in prestigious museums in Poland, France, Bosnia and the United States, where she participated in numerous exhibits in CA. Having appeared in TV shows worldwide, she has become an established artist with much respect.

Torenzo Gann is an internationally known, award-winning fine artist, photographer, and commercial art film producer. A native of Michigan, he majored in illustration at Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids. After successfully completing his first year, he left Kendall to pursue his own studies in the areas of painting, photography and filmmaking.

Live Painting Demonstration

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Watch two extraordinary creatives show a live painting demonstration. You don't want to miss it! Rothschild and Gann will present an entertaining exploration of creativity, working on a large collaborative mixed-media painting. It is awe inspiring!

This month's HI Mindfulness Forum events

Deena Rahill, founder of HI Mindfulness Forums, presents the following Sound Vibration events. For more details on these events and/or to register, please visit her website,

Wolf Full Moon - January 4 - 6-7:30 p.m. - Join Deena for a powerful Sound Vibrational Journey during the Wolf full moon.

Mike Tamburo - Gong Sound, Performance & Meditation Concert - February 2 and February 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m. - a sound healing experience like no other!

EVERY WEEK: Tune Up Tuesday and Sound Healing Sunday. To learn more about sound healing, new events and what Deena does, visit her website -

Oh, the benefits of being a member!

As a Family Level Member or higher, you have access to free or discounted admission to 134 museums in Florida alone with the NARM and SERM reciprocal benefits. One of the participating museums is Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki in Clewiston, FL, just on the other side of Lake Okeechobee. For more information on this amazing museum, keep reading and visit their website. We hope you get the chance to explore this season and use your membership benefits!

In the Seminole language, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki means a place to learn, a place to remember. Nestled in the heart of the Everglades on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum is home to more than 30,000 unique artifacts, archival items and experiences. Here, one can learn about the Seminole people and their rich cultural and historical ties to the Southeast and Florida, as they have made Big Cypress their home for more thousands of years.


Members-only benefits include:

  •  Behind the scenes tours to upcoming exhibits
  •  Access and admission discounts to special events and opening receptions
  • 10% off museum shop items (some exclusions may apply)
  • NARM & SERM - free admission to over 1,000 museums in the Southeastern and National Reciprocal Programs

Plus, you can enjoy a sense of community pride knowing that you are supporting a worthy nonprofit organization right here on the Treasure Coast. For a full list of benefits, visit our website at Questions? Email Director of Visitor Services Ales Day at [email protected].

Your chance to learn about Pop art

The modern and edgy artwork of German pop artist Michel Friess is now being featured in the Elliott's Art Down the Hall space. These original works of Pop Art, short for Popular Art, are on aluminum sheet, canvas and wood. Pop art is characterized by a deconstruction of images seen in popular culture – television, comic books, magazines, movies and other various forms of advertising.

Friess produces his outstanding and elaborately unique pieces entirely by hand in his studio in Kaiserslautern, Germany. His works are created through complex working techniques such as painting, spray paint, screen printing, paint rollers, wild splashes of paint, as well as the use of iconic newspapers, posters and rare comic books making every work of art unique. We hope you enjoy these unique pieces of art that are sure to make you smile! Read about him here.

Weekly Car Shows - January 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31

Sponsored exclusively by McKee's 37, Lew's Crew Cruisin' at the Elliott is held every Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m., weather permitting, in the Elliott Museum's parking lot. In addition to a lineup of cool cars, "The Hut" is open to serve you delicious food and beverages.

Thanks to 106.9 True Oldies Channel radio station for spinning the hits we love and promoting the show. There’s a $3 fee to show your car and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the museum. Admission to the car show is free for guests.

Cars & Coffee - Saturday, January 14

Cars & Coffee is held the second Saturday of the month from 8 to 10 a.m. in the Elliott Museum's parking lot, weather permitting, co-sponsored by McKee's 37 and Oldies 95.9/106.9FM. Bring your pride and joy ride or just come and hang out with other car owners and enjoy the outdoor ambiance. The event showcases an amazing display of different makes, models and years of vehicles. This event is free and open to everyone. Coffee and donuts are provided at a nominal charge.

One of the Elliott's youngest supporters

Ryker B. is a bright and engaging home school student and is also one of the Elliott Museum’s youngest fans.

For his seventh birthday, Ryker wanted an Elliott membership — and he got his wish.

Happy Birthday, Ryker, from your friends at the Elliott Museum!

Lecture about Norman Rockwell's models

Tuesday, February 7, from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Join us for a lecture by poet and former editor Stephen Haggerty and learn about some of the real people behind Norman Rockwell’s paintings.

“I knew some of the people we knew were models,” Haggerty recalled. “But I didn’t know I knew that many!”

Haggerty began tracking down former neighbors and friends, many now in their 80s, and asked them about their experiences posing for the painter in Vermont. His latest book, title release date Feb 15, 2023, “Norman Rockwell’s Models: In and Out of the Studio,” includes stories of Norman Rockwell’s models and their time in his studio. Read more details here.

You can preorder or take a peek at Haggerty’s book on Amazon. There will be a cash bar for this event. $10 for members and $15 for non-members. RSVP by giving us a call at (772) 225-1961.

Learn more with an auto collection tour

To take advantage of the museum's weekly tours of its auto collection on Thursdays at 11 a.m., meet at the front desk at 10:55 a.m. We recommend calling first at 772-225-1961. You also can take a joy ride to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. The minimum suggested donation is $200. Contact Jim Ferrare at 305-878-7795 to make arrangements or email him at [email protected].

Help the HSMC grow
As you can see from this newsletter, the Historical Society of Martin County continues to grow and offer more to the community than ever before. But we can't do it without your support. Every little bit helps! Thank you in advance for your support.
Host your own private party at the Elliott
Looking for a place to host a private party? We've got you covered!
Whether it's for your business, organization or family event, the Elliott Museum is available to rent.

For details, contact Debbie Banta at 772-225-1961, ext. 124, or email her at [email protected].
Volunteer opportunities

Tour Guides & Daily Docents Needed

If you are interested in history and would enjoy being a part of the Elliott team — we need you! Come join our Volunteer Corps at the Historical Society of Martin County. Choose from a variety of volunteer jobs, ranging from guest services to curatorial research. Feel free to reach out anytime. If you (or someone you know) is interested, please fill out an application at the Elliott or online via the website, or contact Ales Day, director of visitor services, via email.

Check out this brand new Elliott Museum T-shirt, now available at the museum's Emporium Museum Shoppe! You'll see plenty of other unique items, whether you're shopping for a gift or for yourself. The merchandise includes jewelry, holiday decorations, an assortment of soaps, clocks, clothing, signed baseballs, baseball literature and much more. No museum admission is required if you just wish to browse and shop.

Your Amazon purchases support us
When ordering from Amazon, please remember to go to If you designate the Historical Society of Martin County, we will get a percentage of all of your purchases. Amazon automatically will make the donation to the HSMC. That's an easy way to help us at no cost to you!

Community News

The Jensen Beach Art League will be on the grounds of the Elliott Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates:

January 8, 2023

February 12, 2023

March 12, 2023

April 9, 2023

For more information, visit the website, or send an email to [email protected].

Click here to see all of the local happenings and more on

For concise information on what's happening with the Arts Scene on the Treasure Coast, subscribe to Willi Miller's ARTS BLAST! at

The Historical Society of Martin County

A Treasure on the Treasure Coast since 1961! | 772-225-1961

Two Museums on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, FL 34996

Elliott Museum | 825 NE Ocean Blvd.

Hours: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

House of Refuge • 301 SE MacArthur Blvd.

10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m., Sunday