In this newsletter issue
• Update from the President & CEO
• A well-deserved honor
• Happy 145th birthday to the House of Refuge!
• Make your reservations for St. Paddy's Day
• March of Museums
• Art to inspire you
• Make sure you "catch" this exhibit!
• Host your own private party at the Elliott
• Hey car aficionados!
• Ride in old-fashioned style
• Enjoy lunch, dinner or a cup of Joe at the Elliott
• Next weekly car show: March 9
• Next Cars & Coffee: March 13
• Zoom lecture with John Nelson
• New volunteer opportunities
• Your support means everything!
Emporium Museum Shoppe
Your Amazon purchases can help us!
• Relax with Sound Vibration events
• Community News
• Willi Miller's ARTS BLAST
Update from the President & CEO
Good Day Everyone,

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." – J.K. Rowling

Before I explain why I am using this quote, I need to let you know that I love J.K. Rowling, and I believe that the fact that she does not have the Nobel Peace Prize on her mantle is a great tragedy. I can’t recall a single person who has influenced so many lives, brought so many families together, and had such a profound effect on children’s reading skills. She has my vote.

It was 355 days ago today, the Historical Society of Martin County closed its doors for 111 days. We chose to use this time as a blessing and an opportunity to reinvent the museum to better serve the people of our community. Ten years ago, a tremendous fund raising effort was launched to rebuild the Elliott Museum; it is without question that the community who raised these funds deserves a solid return on its investment, and that’s to see this 60-year-old institution not only to survive—but to thrive!

Rock bottom for museums is being in a situation where you have thousands of beautiful and intriguing objects and stories to share with people…but you are unable to let them through the door to enjoy your work. Thankfully, those days have passed.
“My advice for anybody starting out in life is simple: get to work! Learn the nitty-gritty.” – S. Prestley Blake

Our community, and America, lost a pillar last month when S. Prestley Blake passed quietly at 106 years of age (pictured here with American car restorer and TV personality Wayne Carini). He has been a true friend to Stuart and to all of us at the Elliott Museum. He was a genuinely lovely man, and he had an uncanny ability to light me up every time our paths crossed. He liked to laugh, and I really liked to laugh with him. We listened to your advice Pres, and we got to work. The Elliott Museum is unrecognizable from a year ago. All of our recent visitors have been amazed by the dramatic changes in every corner of our 48,000 square-foot community treasure.

Our remarkably innovative staff and talented volunteers have also learned the nitty-gritty during the pandemic cycle. They have learned and indeed mastered the often-malfunctioning, often-maligned “Boomerang” device at the museum. The Boomerang is an incredibly complicated device that selects and delivers each of our 55 cars in the system on demand, much like a jukebox delivers music. Our collective hats are off to these beautiful people who now keep the Boomerang functioning with an up-time of 95%.

Godspeed, S. Prestley Blake.
“Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz
Failure can often be averted when communities circle their wagons and take care of the things that matter most. Our community has comprehensively pulled together to find ways to preserve and protect its beloved non-profits. I can comfortably say on behalf of the nonprofit community that our gratitude to you will be lasting. 

The statistical analysts are predicting that the COVID-19 cycle will facilitate the closure of 30% of the museums in the United States. Thanks to the timely and generous support of this community, it is safe to say that we will not go quietly into the night. We will keep our nose above water and do all in our power to pull our troubled peers up to the surface with us.

We are so grateful to all of you,
Rob Steele
A well-deserved honor
LaVaine Wrigley, Martin County 2019 Historic Preservationist of the Year, and Linda Geary, board member of the Martin County Preservation Board, which presents the award annually.
At age 92, LaVaine Wrigley was featured in a 2019 Indian River magazine article headlined "The MUSEUM KEEPER," as shown to the left of the lamp in this photo. Her award sits to the right.
Our hats are off to LaVaine Wrigley for being named the the Martin County Preservation Board's 2019 Historic Preservationist of the Year. Originally scheduled to be honored last May at the Elliott Museum, the ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19. Instead, HSMC employees Linda Geary, who also is on the Preservation Board, and Debbie Banta, went to her home to present the award.

The Historical Society of Martin County (HSMC), curates, archives and preserves the historical documents and artifacts for Martin County, including the Elliott and House of Refuge museums. LaVaine began her association with the HSMC in 1996, volunteering two days a week at the Elliott Museum. She joined the HSMC staff in 1997.

In her 23 years with the HSMC, she had many titles and responsibilities. Her original responsibilities were membership and general office work. In 1999, when the museum purchased Past Perfect Museum software, she worked with Curator Susan Duncan to set up and convert the museum’s collections and membership files from index cards and log books to digital files.

From 2003-2016 LaVaine’s title was the exhibit/collection coordinator. In 2016 she became the collections manager, acting as both curator and registrar for the over 33,500 collections and archives housed at the Elliott Museum. The collections include more than 100 antique cars, boats and motorcycles, local history, baseball, Francis Langford/Evinrude and 1800s Americana.

In 2006, LaVaine began the process of organizing and packing the collections for storage in preparation for the demolition of the old Elliott building. In 2011, she supervised the move of the collections into storage and in 2013 the move into the new building. From 2011 until March of 2013 when the new Elliott Museum opened, LaVaine spent her time accessioning box after box of artifacts into the collection. LaVaine also is responsible for research and creation of all history exhibits at the Elliott Museum.

The HSMC is grateful for all of LaVaine's hard work and dedication to our nonprofit organization. Congratulations!
Happy 145th birthday to the House of Refuge!
The House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar — the oldest building in Martin County — turns 145 years old on Wednesday, March 10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Built as one of 10 along the East Coast of Florida, it now stands as Florida's only remaining House of Refuge. It provides a picturesque background and is only 100 feet from shore, making it a popular place to snorkel or dive. Many folks also rent the unique property for beach weddings and other oceanside events. If you're not familiar with the House of Refuge, we invite you to tune into this video.
Make your reservations today for March 17
We're excited to partner with Florida Dept. of State for the fifth annual "March of Museums," celebrating the variety and versatility of museums in Florida and the important services those museums provide to their communities. The initiative includes partner museums and cultural institutions throughout Florida that showcase the vast and diverse array of museums that populate the Sunshine State. The 2021 celebration focuses on celebrating the ingenuity and creativity of museums in Florida. Learn more at
Art to inspire you
Barb Bucci displays her artwork, "So Below," and is flanked by the work of her late father, James DeMartis, called "Fantasy Landscape" (left) and and artist Dot Galfond’s "Wildflower" creation.
We invite you to see the recently installed Martin Artisans Guild Exhibit in the museum's second floor gallery. Twenty-nine artists are exhibiting their work in mediums that include oil paintings, mixed media, jewelry, photography, watercolor on paper, acrylic paintings, ink on paper, bonded marble, pastel paintings, ceramics, fused glass and fiber art.

The Martin Artisans Guild is a nonprofit group of professional artists of Martin County. Many of its members are award-winning and some have shown internationally. Come and see for yourself what this exhibit is all about! For more details on the annual Open Studio Tour, please visit
Make sure you "catch" this exhibit!
The Lure of Florida Fishing - New Exhibit at the Elliott Museum
Now through May 31, 2021
There’s something fishy going on at the Elliott Museum — the Lure of Florida Fishing exhibit!

With Martin County being recognized as the Sailfish Capital of the World, this Lure of Florida Fishing exhibit is perfectly suited for the museum. The exhibit showcases the rich history, evolution and art of this age-old sport and its impact on a local and statewide scale. Come and explore vintage and state-of-the-art equipment, mounts, sculpture, old photographs depicting fishing history, and handcrafted lures for fresh and saltwater fishing. You can also cast a line on a fishing simulator to see what you can reel in!
Martin County has attracted the most avid of anglers — including U.S. presidents, commercial fishermen, and world-class sport fishermen to fish the nearby waterways and ocean. Don't let this one get away! The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Host your own private party at the Elliott
The Sailfish Point Yacht Club recently hosted a private party at the Elliott Museum and enjoyed the museum's new fishing exhibit, as well as the variety of all the other displays throughout the museum. You, too, can rent this same space for your business, organization or family event! For details, contact Debbie Banta at 772-225-1961, ext. 124, or email her at
Hey car aficionados!
The Elliott Museum is opening up its garages to the local car community for those who like to work on their own classic car, truck or motorcycle ... or perhaps just hang out with other motorheads.

Not only will you get to work in air-conditioned comfort, you'll have access to four post lifts, floor jacks, jack stands, and metric and standard tools. We also have oil collection containers along with car wash, interior cleaning and detailing products. We also have a pressure cleaner for the really big jobs, an industrial air compressor, and a battery charger. The museum will even provide refreshments! Donations are accepted.

"This is a great opportunity to work in a well-equipped garage with all of the conveniences of vehicle maintenance," said HSMC Car Curator Jim Ferrare. "I know there are people who have cars here — in particular snow birds — and nowhere to work on them. This solves that problem for them."

To make an appointment or for more information, contact Ferrare at 305-878-7795 or email him at
Ride in old-fashioned style
Consider riding in style for your next special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, or give this opportunity as a gift. The museum will provide rides using one of its exquisite cars from its impressive collection for these celebrations. All that is required is a reservation and a donation to the museum. Contact HSMC Car Curator Jim Ferrare at 305-878-7795 to make arrangements or email him at
Going the extra mile
Car Gallery docent Glenn Enriquez is looking dapper in his 1930s era flat cap, suspenders and bowtie.

Pictured here in the Elliott Museum's car gallery, the collection features some 100 automobiles, including vehicles dating back to 1903, rare sports cars, special interest autos, and one of the most comprehensive Model A collections in the world.

Some of the vehicles are showcased in a unique “Boomerang” system, which showcases them in a three-story automated retrieval racking system.

Thanks, Glenn for going the extra mile for years to make the Elliott visitor experience something special!
Enjoy lunch, dinner or a cup of Joe at the Elliott
While you're at the museum, take a break from your exploration and stop in for a bite to eat at the all new Philly Down South Café, which is located on the second floor.

No museum admission is required if you're only coming to the restaurant. Stop in for a cup of coffee or come as a couple, a family or plan to conduct your next business meeting at the café over lunch or dinner.

On Wednesday through Saturday, the Philly Down South Café serves lunch from noon to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Happy Hour is held from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday where an assortment of beer and wine is offered, two for the price of one. On Sunday, patrons can enjoy outside dining from the café’s food truck from noon until 4 p.m. The café is closed Monday and Tuesday.
The menu includes daily specials along with some of proprietor Jim Leary’s specialties, including Philly cheesesteaks, prime rib, seared salmon, pasta dishes, chicken Alfredo, chicken parmigiana and Caesar salad. The café also provides unique chef specials as well as delicious homemade desserts. For pickup, reservations or private events, call 772-225-1961, or visit the website,
Next weekly car show: Tuesday, March 9
Lew's Crew Cruisin' at the Elliott is held every Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m., weather permitting, in the Elliott Museum's parking lot. In addition to a lineup of cool cars, the fabulous “Philly Down South” food truck is on site offering a delicious assortment of cheesesteaks, grilled items, and more.

Thanks to True Oldies Channel radio station for promoting the show. There’s a $3 fee to show your car and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the museum. Admission is free for guests, who are asked to remember to follow CDC guidelines pertaining to social distancing and wearing a mask.
Cars & Coffee • Saturday, March 13
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. The next one will be held on March 13. Bring your pride and joy ride or just come and schmooze 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.
Zoom lecture with John Nelson
Mark your calendar now for this informative lecture by John Nelson. He'll be discussing legendary photographer Clyde Butcher. Called the next Ansel Adams by Popular Photography magazine, he is known for capturing landscapes throughout the world. Nathaniel Reed, former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, served presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s. He spent a lifetime working to protect the environment.

Who/What: Zoom lecture with John Nelson (link to be provided closer to event)

Topic: An Afternoon with Environmental Photographer Clyde Butcher and Naturalist Nathaniel Reed

When: 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7

Where: Elliott Museum via Zoom
New volunteer opportunities
Are you looking for a fun, different and exciting way to spend your weekends? The Elliott Museum or House of Refuge may be the perfect spot for you to volunteer! Currently, Director of Visitor Services Amie Smith is looking to fill the following volunteer positions:

Elliott Museum Volunteer Opportunities

Car Gallery Docent: Saturday 1-4 p.m.
Visitor Services Desk Clerk: Sunday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. (or a mid-shift 11 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Museum Shop Clerk: Saturday: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and Sunday: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. & 1-4 p.m. (or a mid-shift of 11 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Tour Guide Docent: Saturday 1-4 p.m.
House of Refuge Volunteer Opportunities

We are looking to fill two shifts on Friday. One shift is from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and the other is from 1-4 p.m.

If these shifts at either the Elliott Museum or House of Refuge don’t work for you, we are always looking for weekday volunteers. Feel free to reach out anytime. If you (or someone you know) is interested, please fill out an application at one of the museums or online via the website, or contact Amie via email.
In addition, Amie is looking to create a membership committee. The HSMC thrives with a broad base of members. We are recruiting volunteers to form a membership committee to help grow our museum community. If you would like to join in on the fun and engagement, email Amie here.
Visit the Elliott Emporium Museum Shoppe to see our all new Raku "Spirit Friends" (pictured top right) along with a variety of art, jewelry, kitchen and living room accoutrements, toys and more. Shown top left is the work of Liz Huggins-Thompson, a new artist featured in the Shoppe's Sterling Studio. No museum admission is required if you just wish to browse and shop.
Your Amazon purchases can help 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!
Relax with Sound Vibration events
Tune-up Tuesdays

Starting March 9, Deena Rahill, creator of Crystal Bowl Sound Vibrational Healing, is offering "Tune-up Tuesdays" every Tuesday from 2-3 p.m. These are live, in-person events held in the Elliott Museum's theater.

Space is limited. Pre-registration by phone is preferred but walk-ins are welcome. The cost is $25. Call 786-488-7782.

Deena also is happy to customize a private individual or group session. Call 786-488-7782 for more information.
Soul Soothing Sounds
— a new event!

Please join sound meditation practitioners Deena Rahill and Doreen Poreba as they take you on a peaceful journey into sound from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, in the Elliott Museum's Forum room.

This is no April Fool's joke! Rather, this sound healing experience will help soothe your soul, balancing your mind, body and spirit and bringing you into a state of healthy resonance.

Give yourself the gift of this extraordinary relaxation event, which will allow your mind to quiet down and open any blockages. Space is limited and must be pre-purchased to attend. For complete details and to register, click here.
Community news
The Jensen Beach Art League's Second Sunday Art Show has returned for another great season. It is held the second Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. now through April in the Elliott Museum parking lot. The next one will be March 14. Come and support your local artists at this free event. For more information, visit
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!
Two Museums on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, FL 34996
Elliott Museum | 825 NE Ocean Blvd.
Hours: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. every day | 772-225-1961
House of Refuge • 301 SE MacArthur Blvd.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday | 772-225-1875