From the President & CEO - Rob Steele

“What greater gift than the love of a Cat.” - Charles Dickens

“I believe Cats to be spirits come to earth.” - Jules Verne

“A Cat doesn't care if you are smart or dumb, give him your heart, and he will give you his.” – Abraham Lincoln

I have always been abundantly grateful that I was raised to be an animal lover. Despite my broad spectrum of affection for all animal life, I have certainly developed an advanced level of appreciation for and understanding of cats.

My dear mother, Marilyn, was a devout cat lover, and in her 95 years, she amassed a profound level of knowledge regarding domestic felines. She endured an inordinately long period of dementia in the final stages of her life, and I purchased dozens of cat picture books for her to enjoy. She thoroughly enjoyed them all…over and over again. I liked to read some of the books by “Cat Experts” to her because, at some point in the reading, she would blurt out, “This author doesn't know what they are talking about!” I promise you that based on my understanding of cats, my Mom was always correct in her critique.

Abraham Lincoln was a consummate cat lover, and one of his cabinet members gifted him with “Dixie” and “Tabby.” He once fed Tabby from the table at a formal White House dinner. When his wife objected, he replied, “If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby.” Cat lovers, be aware – my vigil to find a Cat Exhibit for the Elliott Museum is constant!

My deep appreciation for the Elliott family, who created the Elliott Museum, was further enhanced when I discovered that the Elliotts had a beloved cat named “Tucker.” Our children's “scavenger hunt” has become such a runaway success at the Elliott that we decided to add a stuffed version of Tucker to the mix. There are an unlimited number of possible hiding places for Tucker in the museum, and our young guests will be tasked with finding him wherever he may be.

"Everyone's sort of the same height when you are looking from a birds-eye view." - Marcus Dunstan

"In a birds-eye view, you tend to survey everything and decide on a particular point, then you swoop down and pick it up. In a worm's eye view, you don't have that advantage of looking at everything." – Muhammed Yunus

From a birds-eye perspective, I always marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the Elliott Museum and the House of Refuge Museum. I was about four years old when the picture above was taken of the new Elliott Museum, all by its lonesome, on the south end of Hutchinson Island. The photo is black and white, but I can well imagine what the water would look like in color in 1961. I have been lucky enough to approach the museums many times by car and on foot, a couple of times by sea, but never by air. I occasionally see local adventurers flying along the shore in powered paragliders…which I have determined to be riskier than my term-life policy would consider prudent.

To enjoy a birds-eye view and keep both of my feet on the ground, I have determined that a drone would be an ideal solution. I will begin my research in earnest to find the perfect make and model that will perform brilliantly for both museum campuses. This search will be closely followed by a search for a loyal patron to buy said drone.

When Jim Cantore and the Weather Channel crew were stationed at the House of Refuge in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian in August of 2019, I watched with raptured attention when they unbuckled a monstrous road case, and a fabulous, military-grade drone was revealed to a few lucky onlookers. The pilot skillfully launched the drone, shooting like a bullet to a distance of 500 yards offshore in just a couple of seconds. This magnificent machine sent back crystal-clear images of the House of Refuge, and it remained perfectly stationary in 40 mph winds. Men become boys so very easily. We can't wait to share images when the Historical Society of Martin County takes wing!

All the best,


Every day is different, fun and exciting at The Elliott!

Outside my office I hear children laughing excitedly as Matela’s General Store is opened for them to enjoy. The other day I saw a serious game of checkers being played between a grandmother and her grandson in the General Store.

The Car Gallery, a favorite of all ages, is filled with vintage cars, trucks, motorcycles, and the ever-popular school bus. "The Highwaymen from Street Corner to Smithsonian" has been visited and enjoyed by thousands.

The caricatures by legendary opera tenor Enrico Caruso has been an amazing surprise for many. 

This is what we do because of you. You make it possible for us to provide new exhibits, educational and entertaining lectures, special events, care for and update our permanent collections, and so much more. We simply could not do what we do without your support. 

The Historical Society of Martin County is a 501(c)3, and as such, your donations are always needed as they fuel our exciting exhibits, always-evolving programs, and impressive collections.

They also provide operating dollars that are the basis for your incredible visitor experience. You are welcome every day to visit, discover, engage, explore, just simply, have fun. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how best you can help us, please let me know … I’d love to talk with you!  

As always, we truly appreciate your thoughtful consideration and continued support.

Linda Prange

Director of Development

772-225-1961, ext. 110

[email protected]

Join us in celebration

Congratulations to Lloyd Jones, who also is on the Historical Society of Martin County's Board of Directors. To see a complete Martin County Historic Preservation event schedule, click here. Many activities are planned that run through May 29, including an Open House on May 2 from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at our own House of Refuge, which is Martin County's oldest building. Free guided tours will be conducted. The House of Refuge address is 301 SE MacArthur Blvd. on Hutchinson Island. Call 772-225-1875 for more information.

Highwaymen son shares stories

Those who keep up to date with The Elliott Museum know that we recently opened a stunning art exhibit titled “Highwaymen — From the Street Corner to the Smithsonian” and an event that featured the son of 91-year-old Roy McLendon, one of only seven original, living Highwaymen.

Featuring the beautiful artwork of self-taught artists who began painting in the 1950s, the paintings reflect a style that captures an attractive illustration of Florida's vivid light and natural splendor. Unable to get featured in any galleries, the artists traveled the highways and sold their paintings to bankers, lawyers and other executives for as little as $25. Today, some of their paintings go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

In all, there were 25 males and one female artist. This rare collection of artwork at the Elliott showcases an extensive "Canvas Board Wall" of the artists’ early works, including Harold Newton, one of the founding members, along with a Tribute Wall to Roy McLendon, who was inspired by Newton, his neighbor. Many of the paintings come from private collections and have never before been displayed.

The "Tales from the Trunk" event attracted a large crowd.

Roy McLendon, Jr. did a live painting demonstration during the event.

On April 13, Roy McLendon Jr., son of original Highwaymen artist Roy McLendon, participated in “Tales from the Trunk," an event that attracted more than 100 people! At the event, he spoke candidly of his life as a family member of a Highwaymen artist. He followed in his father's footsteps by becoming an artist himself.

This exhibit will remain on display through July 14, 2023 and is generously sponsored by by Knight & Ann Kiplinger & The Kiplinger Family Foundation, Henry & Rachelle (Rocky) Grady, Carole Hauke, The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A. and the Florida Department of State Division of Arts & Culture.

You could win an original Highwaymen painting!

Buy your tickets today at the Elliott Museum!

Our volunteers make it happen!

The Elliott and House of Refuge museums are grateful for their volunteers! More than 100 of them volunteered more than 10,000 hours last year. In appreciation, the Elliott hosted a “Volunteers Rock On Tour” appreciation dinner. Elvis (aka President & CEO Rob Steele) greeted the volunteers as they arrived, reminding them that our volunteers rock! Special thanks go to the Kris Heaton Band—they truly rocked the house with a mix of rock 'n' roll classics and their original recordings.

He’s pictured here with Randy Prange, husband of Director of Development Linda Prange. Volunteers help with every aspect of both museums from tour guides, Boomerang operators and special events to the admission desk, garage and gift shop. We couldn't do it without you!

Perfect gift ... perfect time

It’s a perfect time for a perfect gift!

Graduations, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays are all perfect reasons to buy a brick. Maybe you’d like to honor a loved one. Each brick is a 4” x 8” brick and installed at the base of the flagpole at The Elliott Museum. The brick will be engraved as you wish on up to three lines.

For complete information about this program, please visit this website or access this QR code using the camera on your phone. Here you will find an order form, but if you have any questions, please, Linda Prange, director of development at 772-221-1961, ext. 110, or by email, [email protected].

We're in the news!

The Elliott Museum is included as one of the can’t-miss attractions published on USA Today’s 10Best platform, which receives about two million unique website visitors each month. You can find the article here (provided by Ian Centrone, Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing). The Highwaymen exhibit also was included in this New York Times article. The Elliott's opening reception of the Highwaymen exhibit also was featured in TCPalm's Luminaries, which you can view here.

Behind the scenes in the curatorial department

A little help can go a long way! Chessy Ricca, the Elliott’s collections manager, has been mentoring Isabella Elg, who has been interning in the Curatorial department at the Elliott. Chessy recently attended her presentation about her internship.

“While she is not yet finished with her internship, she was able to lecture on the neat projects she worked on while also thinking about her future career path and whether or not museum studies is what she wants to pursue,” said Chessy. “I can say that Isabella has proven to be a valuable asset to myself and the Elliott Museum with all the help and creativity she provides.”

The next time you visit the Elliott, pay attention to the exhibit under the stairs celebrating the Environmental Studies Center's 50th anniversary. Isabella spent a lot of time assisting in putting the space together. She also worked hard in keeping the toy exhibit tidy and clean.

Added Chessy, “What you don't get to see is how much having an intern has helped me behind the scenes in keeping the curatorial department in tip-top shape! Isabella even learned our Past Perfect program so that she could assist me with accessioning artifacts. Thank you Isabella!”


Every Tuesday! May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30

EVERY TUESDAY! (weather permitting) The Elliott Museum's all new weekly car show — Cruisin' At The Beach — is a colorful and lively event that you can count on to enjoy the best of the best in classic cars, great food from the Tiki Hut right on the premises and LIVE music! Free for spectators, and to show a car or motorcycle, it's free to members and just $5 for non-members.

Only 10 left in Adopt-A-Car program

We only have 10 vehicles left to adopt in our Adopt-a-Car Inventory. These include a 1903 Stanley (Steam) Motor Carriage, the first car of Sterling Elliott, a 1931 Ford Tanker Truck, a 1904 Indian “Camelback” Motorcycle, 1985 Moto Guzzi Motorcycle and more.

To view complete information about this truly special program, please visit this website or access this QR code using the camera on your phone. Here you will find the vehicles that are available, a description of them, as well as the order form. You may also contact, Linda Prange, director of development at 772-221-1961, ext. 110, or by email, [email protected], with any questions or to check availability.

Philly Down South — great eats & treats

We invite you to come on down to the Philly Down South Tiki Hut for some eats and treats. The kitchen is open, weather permitting, with live music during the all new Tuesday night car show. On Friday and Saturday night, the hours are 6 to 9 p.m. with more live music. The kitchen closes at 8 p.m.

On May 27 from 6 to 9 p.m., join us for our second Yellow Stone Party. Alita and the Boyz taking the stage.

For musicians and singers, check out the open mic every Saturday from 1-4 p.m. The upstairs restaurant on the Elliott's second floor is available to reserve for private lunches or dinners (minimum 25 guests to reserve inside dining). Call 561-718-9733 to make your reservation today! There’s no museum admission if you're just coming to eat or sip a beverage at the restaurant.

Looking back at Tulip Time

From Cologne...Strasbourg...and enjoyed the sights, fellowship, and flavors on the Elliott's fun-filled Tulip Time River Cruise aboard the Emerald Destiny. Don't miss the next adventure. Details follow in the next story, including free airfare!

Billye and Vincent Miraglia toured Reichsburg Castle in Cochem, Germany.

Marie Kennedy dined in one of Lucerne’s oldest gastropubs—established in 1609.

Gail and Marc Reicheg taking in the splendor of Lake Lucerne

Sue and Jerry Gumbus in the tulip fields at Amsterdam’s Keukenhof Gardens

Free airfare if you sign up by May 31

Enjoy great values on all-inclusive luxury travel while supporting the Elliott Museum! Mayflower Cruises and Tours, a leader in the travel industry, has every detail covered for carefree travel to nearly every corner of the globe.  Here’s a sample of the travel adventures that await you.

The Ionian Sea Adventure will give you the opportunity to sail aboard a luxurious Emerald superyacht through Southern Italy, Sicily and the Greek Isles. Book by May 31 for free airfare! 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.

Coming! European Christmas Market River Cruise for the 2024 Holiday Season!


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! For details, contact Debbie Banta at [email protected] or call 772-225-1961, ext. 124. We also invite you to like and share the Elliott's new travel Facebook page.

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,

May 6 at 6 p.m. - Blood Full Moon

Join Deena for a powerful sound vibrational journey during the Blood Full Moon.

Sound Healing Sunday Mother’s day special - May 13 at 2 p.m.

This is a powerful sound healing to unwind yourself, balance every cell of your body, and enter a blissful and mindful state. Healing sound has many benefits: It reduces anxiety, elevates the mood, reduces pain, releases stuck emotions, lowers blood pressure and ignites your creativity.

Reset your Energy Centers – May 25 at 6 p.m.

Raise your vibration and clear out negative/old patterns. You will experience deep relaxation, a flow of energy, improved body circulation and release of toxins.

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 the Dali Museum in St Petersburg, FL. For more information on this amazing museum, keep reading and visit their website below. We hope you get the chance to explore this season and use your membership benefits! To learn more visit the museum's website.


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 (Family membership and above)

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].

Cars & Coffee - Saturday, May 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, 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.

Here's a birthday idea for you!

Here's a different way to celebrate your birthday, like these young ladies from the Appletree Academy did. They enjoyed dressing in 1920s costumes and posing in this 1930 Ford Phaeton Police Car. You can celebrate an occasion the same way, too! Just call the Elliott's car curator, Jim Ferrare, at 305-878-7795 or email him at [email protected] for details.

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].

Exhibit extended until the end of June

For an explanation, view this video!

You have another chance to view the very creative “Free Electrons” display of artwork from extraordinary award-winning artists, Danuta Rothschild and Torenzo Gann. The exhibit, on the museum's second floor No-Name gallery, was originally scheduled to end April 27. It's included with the Elliott Museum’s regular admission so be sure to check it out!

Torenzo, pictured here with Rob Steele, recently donated his iconic Stuart water tower painting entitled "Same as it ever was" to the Historical Society of Martin County. 

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

House of Refuge volunteers needed!

If you are interested in history and would enjoy being a part of the House of Refuge team — we need you! Come join our Volunteer Corps at the Historical Society of Martin County. If you (or someone you know) is interested, please contact Ales Day, director of visitor services, via email, or fill out an application online via the website.

Whether you're shopping for a gift or for yourself you'll see plenty of unique items at the museum's Emporium Museum Shoppe, including these Beadworx sculptures. They are whimsical handcrafted works of art made of glass beads and galvanized wire. They can live both indoors and out. Other merchandise includes magnetic, glow-in-the-dark butterflies, artwork, jewelry, decorations, children's toys, books, 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.

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

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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