Letter from Rob Steele, HSMC president & CEO

“True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.” - Eleanor Roosevelt.

“Love brings hospitality, hospitality brings cooperation, cooperation brings unity, unity brings peace, peace brings love, love is life.” - Bafferh Mohammed

I patently refuse to participate in the boiling pot of vitriolic communications that seems to have become the norm in the world today. I believe that every encounter we have with our fellow human beings is an opportunity to raise the other person’s vibration and send them on their way to a happy day. A simple, perhaps even muted smile is the first step. Good manners are the art of making other people comfortable, and hence they become the logical second step.

If you are able to combine a smile with good manners and the spirit of sharing, you are practicing hospitality, and you may rely on the fact that I will very quickly pin a nametag to you. Hospitality is our nature at the Historical Society of Martin County.

I have often observed that genuine hospitality in a museum environment sparks curiosity and ignites a sense of wonder. When visitors are met with enthusiastic staff members and volunteers who are eager to share their knowledge and engage in meaningful conversations, it fosters a contagious enthusiasm that inspires curiosity and exploration.

Visitors are encouraged to delve deeper into the exhibits, ask probing questions, and uncover hidden details, leading to a more profound understanding and appreciation of the subject matter. This sense of wonder and intellectual stimulation creates a transformative experience that lingers long after the museum visit, leaving visitors with a newfound love and curiosity for art, history, and culture. Our home is your home, and we mean it.

“Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it is there.” – Barbara Corcoran

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison

Opportunities are often hidden amidst challenges or disguised as obstacles, requiring an optimistic mindset to discover them. When organizations possess a strong belief in the existence of opportunities, they cultivate a mindset that seeks and identifies potential avenues for growth and advancement. Belief serves as a catalyst, empowering the organization to approach situations with an open and proactive mindset, enabling them to recognize and capitalize on opportunities that others may overlook. Our eyes and minds are wide open at the Historical Society of Martin County, and of late, it seems to be raining opportunities. It would be effortless indeed to declare that we are simply too small and somehow lack the capacity to take on a big opportunity when it comes to us, but we are reticent to do so. We have adopted the habit of grabbing on with both hands and holding on for dear life. This temperament has served us well.

There is a bushel basketful of opportunities revolving around us at the moment, and we are ready to harvest. Our beloved car curator, Jim Ferrare, has established a rock-solid reputation as a bona fide “car guy” and one of the most genuinely kind people you can possibly meet. Our regional community has been responding by offering a steady stream of exciting cars to add to the museum collection. Opportunities abound on this front, and his success is already testing the capacity of our building. Once dark in the evening, the Elliott Museum is now anything but dark.

Director of Engagement Debbie Banta works tirelessly to create spectacular events in our unique museum spaces for a host of area organizations, families, and businesses. She very recently wrangled a fascinating product launch platform for an incredible electric bike manufacturer that will soon bring international attention to our museum, and we are certain that our entire community will get caught up in the excitement. We have the opportunity to showcase the fantastic photography of Carlton Ward Jr. and Mac Stone. Their exhibit and surrounding activities will go a long way to raise awareness of the plight of the Everglades and Florida Panther in a significant way. We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to join us for The Treasures of Tutankhamun opening on January 3, 2024.

All the best,


Give a gift ... get a gift!

You’ve told me many times that you appreciate how easy and fun it is to support the Historical Society of Martin County, The Elliott Museum and House of Refuge through our adopt programs. You’ve also said you appreciate having tangible recognition of your gift. The programs are simple. Basically, you give a gift, and you receive a gift! 

The gift you receive is one you choose. If you give a gift of $250, you could, for example, adopt the 1911 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, or for $100 the 1940 Gilbarco Gas Pump, $100 for the 1869 Boneshaker Bicycle, or $500 for Matela’s General Store. There are many other items available through our Adopt a Car and Adopt Something programs. You select which item you’d like to “adopt” for one year and we provide signage at your item and give you an Adoption Certificate. It’s that simple. 

To view complete information about Adopt a Car, please visit https://hsmc-fl.com/adopt-a-car where you will find the vehicles that are available, a description of them, as well as the order form. To view information about Adopt Something, visit https://hsmc-fl.com/adopt-something. Here you will find items that are available, a description of them, as well as the order form. If you’d like to visit our Guest Services desk at the Elliott, you will be shown what items are currently available and you may adopt at that time. Or you may contact me with any questions. I’d enjoy talking with you about these programs and the special items available for adoption! 

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

Linda Prange

Director of Development

772-225-1961, ext. 110


Join us for the public opening night of two

National Geographic photographer exhibits

Mark your calendar for August 3 at 5:30 p.m. That's when two amazing photography exhibits will open at the Elliott Museum with a public event, free to members and regular admission for non-members. Cash bar.

The "Path of the Panther" exhibit, featuring Carlton Ward Jr., will be displayed in tandem with Mac Stone's "Wild Everglades" photos. These award-winning photographers use their celebrated photography and videography skills to capture the essence of the power and the plight of the Florida ecosystems.

The exhibits are part of the museum's "Protect Our Peninsula" series, which focuses on Florida's natural environment, one of a handful of core focuses at the Historical Society of Martin County.

"We are working hard to continually draw attention to the plight of the Indian River Lagoon, the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and the close interrelationships between all of them," said HSMC President & CEO Rob Steele. "We consider this exhibit to be a catalyst in the process of stirring people to become a part of the fight."

eBliss bringing the future of e-mobility to the Elliott  

eBliss Global is an exciting e-mobility company specializing in the design, manufacturing and distribution of third generation e-bikes across the United States. The Elliott Museum is proud to announce that in Fall 2023, eBliss will be launching its “Rise of eMobility” program in conjunction with the museum with a specialty weekend event.

The eBliss founders and key advisors have a profound appreciation for the museum's work and deep history of the transportation industry that the museum elegantly preserves. Stay tuned for event details and dates so that you can see the transportation of the future.. 

The Martin County connection to pineapples

Be sure to catch the "History of Florida Keys Pineapples and the Martin County Connection" exhibit, which opened last month and continues through October 1, 2023. Did you know much of Florida's East coast was covered in fields of pineapples? In this exhibit, you will learn about the Florida Keys pineapple industry and its relation to what is now Martin County!

And the lucky winner is ...

William Smith! On July 13 during a special event, Highwaymen collector Roger Lightle, who donated this original Highwaymen painting, randomly pulled William's ticket!

Although William was not part of the full house crowd at the Philly Down South Tiki Hut, HSMC President & CEO Rob Steele reached him by phone to deliver the good news.

There may not be any more Highwaymen drawings at The Hut but it's still a great place to come for lunch, dinner and/or drinks. There's a variety of live music to go along with your experience at The Hut. Steel drummer Victor Ross entertained guests during the night of the drawing.

Volunteer spotlight - Linda Ryan

What did you do for a living in your career life?

I am a registered nurse who worked as a public health nurse for 20 years in Martin County. During my time at the Martin County Health Department, I worked as the nurse epidemiologist and was the director of nursing. I completed the last 10 years of my working life as the nursing instructor in the Medical Academy at Jensen Beach High School where I taught the Certified Nursing Assistant Program and the Emergency Medical Responder Program.

What are your special interests/passions?

My passion is helping others. In addition to volunteering at the Elliott Museum, I also volunteer in Meals on Wheels Program in Martin County. I have volunteered in the program for eight years, working in the kitchen and delivering meals to needy seniors in their homes. My hobbies include gardening, reading, cooking, and enjoying my family and friends.

What is something that would surprise us about you? 

I was a clogger (clog dancer) and a member of the Twin River Cloggers who performed in the Martin and St. Lucie County Fairs and the State Fair in Tampa. I also taught clogging at the Stuart Recreation Center. (I know…What’s a Clogger? It’s a form of tap dancing country style.)

What’s your favorite thing about volunteering at the HSMC?

This is easy. I love interacting with ALL of the staff and volunteers in every area of the Museum. You could not ask for a more friendly and caring group of people. I love learning about all of the exhibits and being a part of making our guests feel excited about coming to the Museum. 

Elliott Museum inspires young guest

Sarah visited the Elliott Museum with her parents and was so inspired by what she saw, she decided to draw it. 

Create a lasting memory

Honoring a loved one, marking anniversaries, celebrating birthdays and congratulating a grad are some perfect reasons to Buy a Brick. Your brick will join the 67 that have been installed. Each brick is 4 x 8 inches and installed at the base of the Elliott Museum flagpole. The brick will be engraved as you wish on up to three lines.

For complete information, visit https://hsmc-fl.com/buy-a-brick or access this QR code using the camera on your phone. If you have any questions, or want to discuss wording for your brick, please contact Linda Prange, director of development, at 772-221-1961, ext. 110, or by email, linda@hsmc-fl.com. You may also visit Guest Services at the Elliott for details and to order your brick.

Get on board to travel with the Elliott

Travel with the Elliott and discover a world of exceptional itineraries, rich cultural experiences, superb dining and wines, and wonderful camaraderie with fellow travelers. And when you book through the Elliott travel program, you will receive a complimentary HSMC Annual Membership to the Elliott and the House of Refuge museums. Choose from the great cruises and tours hosted by the Elliott, as well as an amazing array of domestic and international tours offered by Mayflower Cruises and Tours. Contact Debbie Banta at 772-225-1961, ext. 124 or email her at dbanta@elliottmuseumfl.org.

Opryland Christmas Tour - November 26-December 1, 2023 -- A truly wondrous and entertaining holiday experience. Registration will be closing soon!

Ionian Adventure - April 24-May 4, 2024 -- Free airfare and early bird pricing has been extended on a limited basis for this exclusive 100-passenger super yacht experience

Alaskan Cruise - July 23-Aug 4, 2024 – A splendid land and sea tour aboard the elegant Holland America Noordam. Watch this video on YouTube

Danube Christmas Market Cruise - December 7-18, 2024 – It’s a magical journey of a lifetime!

Relax & dine under the Philly Down South Tiki Hut

Come and experience the tropical vibe at "The Hut," presented by Philly Down South proprietor Jim Leary. Lunch and dinner is served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with live music every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.

An open mic is held every Thursday night from 6 to 9 p.m. and professional musicians are welcome as a single, duo or your whole band to take part in “Tim Kyle Carpenter’s Open Jam Session” every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. It's an opportunity to play and network with other talented musicians. Call 561-718-9733 to sign up.

For more information about the open jam, daily specials and more, call 561-718-9733.

WPTV visits the House of Refuge

News teams from WPTV NewsChannel 5 came to the House of Refuge last month for its "Let's Hear It" event, which is a chance for them to get out in the community and meet with their viewers. It's also an opportunity for them to talk with them about the good things happening in our community and any issues they're facing that they may need more help with.

Morning News Producer Myia Hodge said, "We want to let our viewers know that we care, and we want to build connections with them." Following their House of Refuge visit, she said, "Yesterday’s event was the talk of the day today. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we couldn’t get over the beauty of the house and land/water surrounding. Thank you again for your help and for having us. I’m sure you’ll see some of our faces again!"

WPTV ran multiple news segments featuring the people they interviewed. It was a great way to put a positive spotlight on the House of Refuge! Thank you, WPTV!

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.

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 Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach. For more information on this amazing museum, keep reading and visit their website, https://www.moas.org. We hope you get the chance to explore this season and use your membership benefits! 

Art, science and history come alive at the Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS). The Museum of Arts & Sciences is the primary art, science and history museum in Central Florida. Situated in the beautiful Tuscawille Preserve, the Museum features the Klancke Environmental Education Complex; The Root Family Museum with popular Americana including vintage automobiles, railroad cars and the largest collection of Coca Cola® memorabilia in Florida.

MOAS also houses the Cuban Foundation Museum; The Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum; Helene B. Roberson Visible Storage Building; Florida’s prehistoric Giant Ground Sloth skeleton; African artifacts; the finest collection of American art in the Southeast; a Chinese art collection, a 266-seat auditorium featuring diversified programs including lectures, concerts and films, and a 96-seat planetarium presenting daily star shows and full dome HD movies.

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 www.hsmc-fl.com/membership-2. Questions? Email Director of Visitor Services Ales Day at aday@hsmc-fl.com.


This month's HI Mindfulness Forum events

Deena Rahill, founder of HI Mindfulness Forums, presents the following Sound Vibration events at the Elliott Museum.

For more details on these events and/or to register, please visit her website, www.soundvibration.net, or click on the individual events below.

The Summer Saturday Sound Healing series continues on August 5, 12, 19 and 26.

August Sturgeon Full Moon Celebration - August 2 at 6 p.m.

Join me for a powerful Sound Vibrational Journey during the Sturgeon Full Moon!

"Blue Moon" - Second Full Moon of August - August 30, 6 p.m.

Second full moon of the month. It's a special time to celebrate and harness the power through light and sound!

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

Get ready for a dance party with live music!

Mark your calendar now so you don't miss this one-time event in the main gallery at the Elliott on Friday, Sept. 8, from 7-10 p.m. Admission $10. Cash bar.  

Fast Facts

Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler are considered the inventors of the modern (gasoline powered) automobile. Although the two men had never met, both filed patents on the same day (January 29, 1886) for gasoline automobiles. Benz’s vehicle was three-wheeled with an internal combustion engine and integrated chassis. Daimler’s motorized carriage was the world’s first four-wheeled automobile and featured the first high-speed gasoline engine. Read more here.

Get inspired by local artists

Cars & Coffee - Saturday, August 12

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.

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 jferrare@hsmc-fl.com.

This unique shell art created by local artist Gia Jordan is available at the Elliott's Emporium.

Parents and grandparents will find plenty of gifts for children in the Elliott's gift shop.

Whether you're shopping for a gift or for yourself you'll see plenty of unique items at the museum's Emporium Museum Shoppe. Merchandise includes baseball merchandise, pirate and other books, magnetic, glow-in-the-dark butterflies, Beadworx sculptures, artwork, decorations, children's toys, 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.

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. PLEASE CLICK THIS BUTTON TO MAKE YOUR DONATION TODAY — AND DON'T FORGET, YOU CAN MAKE YOUR DONATION MONTHLY!

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 dbanta@elliottmuseumfl.org.

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

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

The Historical Society of Martin County

A Treasure on the Treasure Coast since 1961!

www.hsmc-fl.com | 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