Closed for the Holiday

Easter is Sunday, April 9, and the Elliott and House of Refuge museums will be closed on Sunday in observance of Easter. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

From the President & CEO - Rob Steele

“Be dynamic, just like life. Innovate. Create. Explore. Never become stagnant” - Akin Olokun

“If you haven’t been to the Barnum Museum lately, you haven’t been to the Barnum Museum.” - P.T. Barnum

In the past several years, I plagiarized the P.T. Barnum quote above with great regularity. I needed only to substitute the word Elliott for the word Barnum. I have seldom uttered more accurate words. Our exhibits change out in a dynamic fashion, and the transitions have been described as “magical” by our regular volunteers and guests. The Norman Rockwell exhibit was taken off our walls, skillfully recreated, and promptly shipped back to the National Museum of American Illustration in Rhode Island. One thousand seventy holes were filled, the walls painted, and a new Highwaymen exhibit was hung in just six days. Two smaller shows were changed over in the same time period. Our classic cars are racing around the halls and galleries, and it sometimes feels more like Daytona than Hutchinson Island.

Our non-exhibit offerings are proving to be as dynamic as the exhibits themselves. Everyone who has been clever enough to take in one of our Troubadour Series of musical offerings has been somewhat shocked to see how much they have been missing the accordion or the Chapman stick. The local rhythm nation of dancers has moved to disco, tango, the ’80s, ’90s, country, and Woodstock rock. The lecture offerings at our museums are limited to anything under the sun.

The Tuesday Classics at the Beach Cruise Night is evolving into a wonderful offering for all ages and interests. The Philly Down South Tiki is becoming a go-to place for music and fun after hours. Fantastic opportunities for group travel through the Elliott is taking our museum community to a variety of exciting destinations, including a tulip cruise down the Rhine, an Ionian cruise aboard a luxury superyacht to explore the marvels of Italy and Greece, and a holiday delight of Christmas in Opryland. An Alaskan cruise and a Christmas Market river cruise down the Danube are on the horizon for 2024. 

Please don’t say there is nothing to do in Martin County if you are within my earshot.

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.”- Laozi

When I started at the Historical Society of Martin County about four years ago, I was a bit taken aback by our relatively low levels of membership support. Our core strategy to address our soft membership numbers has been to concentrate on census and engagement. The number of shadows crossing our threshold on an annual basis has seen a fourfold increase. The number of guests actively involved in museum programming is a bit over our physical capacity at the moment. Our resilient staff and volunteers are running on fumes, but they are all at their posts with bright, shining smiles seven days a week. Through this noble team effort, our memberships have more than tripled.

Being a member of the HSMC is such a sterling value that the concept of not being a member seems nonsensical. I’d like to invite about 50 people reading this blurb to the end to visit our website,, and become a member of a truly worthwhile organization. One of you will be the 1,000th current member of the HSMC, and you will receive a $100 gift certificate to our museum store. Good luck!

All the best,


Our sponsors make it happen!

Last month I wrote about the need for and importance of sponsoring our special events, guest lectures, live performances, special exhibits and our premier exhibits. I’m thrilled, proud and very pleased to announce that we have four sponsors for our current premier exhibit, "The Highwaymen—from the Street Corner to the Smithsonian." Our lead sponsor is Knight and Ann Kiplinger and The Kiplinger Family Foundation, Henry and Rachelle (Rocky) Grady, Bill & Carole Hauke and The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A.

Our sponsors were honored at a pre-opening reception of the Highwaymen exhibit and celebrated the opening with Roy McLendon, a 91-year-old original Highwaymen artist. It was a very special evening that our sponsors made happen. We thank them for their generosity, caring and support.

We have other opportunities available and another premier exhibit opening in late July. We offer incredible benefits for businesses/firms that truly provide the brand recognition and promotion needed to increase company awareness. Some benefits of sponsorship include exclusive sponsorship per profession/business category, reserved seating, meet and greet, complimentary tickets, pre and post VIP receptions and so much more! With the availability of exclusive sponsorships per business/profession category, it’s important we talk soon! Contact me at 772-225-1961, ext. 110, or by email,   

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


Director of Development

Return of the amazing Highwaymen art

Florida's Highwaymen were a group of artists who painted beginning in the 1950s up to present day. Their colorful scenes shed light on what our coasts once looked like before the Treasure Coast vistas were changed by the need for development. While today their art is globally celebrated, 50 or more years ago, the unnamed artist collective had no idea they would one day be referred to as America's last school of impressionists of the twentieth century famously known as Florida's Highwaymen.

Even though the remaining plein air artists and their descendants are still actively painting, there is no time like the present to begin a collection of Highwaymen artifacts, says Chessy Ricca, the museum's collections manager. But what would that consist of?

Well, anything the Highwaymen would have used while actively creating their masterpieces. Brushes, palettes, empty paint tubes, tin cans, photographs, frame saws, unused Upson board and anything else tangible that aids in preserving their story. By beginning this project now, the Highwaymen history and narrative can be preserved for future generations to learn from and enjoy. 

Roy McLendon (B&W photo from 1967) is one of just seven Highwaymen artists remaining from the original 26. He celebrated his 91st birthday on March 23, 2023. The Elliott Museum staff and volunteers surprised him with a birthday cake on March 12 as part of the opening weekend. He's pictured here with Debbie Banta, director of engagement, who arranged the surprise. Highwaymen — From the Street Corner to the Smithsonian, will remain on display through July 21, 2023. The exhibit is included with the regular cost of museum admission. Also, be sure to catch this special event, as follows.

You could win an original Highwaymen painting!

Buy your tickets today at the Elliott Museum!


Every Tuesday! April 4, 11, 18 and 25

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.

At the first Cruisin' At The Beach, the Kris Heaton Band

rocked it out! C'mon out for an early evening of fun!

Your opportunity to Adopt-A-Car

We’ve added a 1972 Chevy NOVA SS YENKO and a 1959 Rambler AMERICAN, aka Sweet Pea, to our Adopt-a-Car inventory! First come, first served to adopt these beauties! We have only 13 left for adoption and they include cars, trucks, motorcycles (Moto Guzzi, Indian), and bikes.

To view complete information about this truly special program, please visit 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 also may contact, Linda Prange, director of development at 772-221-1961, ext. 110, or by email,, with any questions or to check availability.

Philly Down South — great eats & entertainment

The Philly Down South Tiki Hut lights up during the all new Tuesday night car show with live music. The kitchen's operating hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. On Friday and Saturday night, the hours are 6 to 9 p.m. with more live music. The kitchen closes at 8 p.m.

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! The restaurant will be closed for Easter. There’s no museum admission if you're just coming to eat or sip a beverage at the restaurant.

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,

Celebrating 50 years!

Let's celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Environmental Studies Center (ESC)! Anyone who knows sea creatures might recognize this brown-colored artifact as a sea turtle shell. The ESC was kind enough to provide the Elliott Museum with this replica shell showing the growth of barnacles over time on a turtle's shell.

The second item displayed with this shell is commonly called a seine net. ESC students might be familiar with this scientific tool. But how is it used for science? Students work together to hold opposing ends of this net while collecting specimens for further study. The use of these nets for fishing is forbidden. Read all about the ESC here.

Travel with the Elliott



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.

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.

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 April 30 for free airfare! Click here for details.

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 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,

Pink Full Moon - April 6 at 6-7:30 p.m.

Join Deena for an exhilarating Vibrational Journey during the Pink Full Moon.


Solar Eclipse Sound - April 20 at 2-3:30 p.m.

Let's harness the energy during the power of the solar eclipse! It's all about transformation!

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 A.E Backus Museum & Gallery in Ft Pierce. 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!


Discover Where Florida Art Began

Since its founding in 1960 and the first day the doors opened in 1961, the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery has been a center and catalyst for creativity and culture in our region. The museum houses the nation’s largest public presentation of artwork by Florida’s preeminent painter, A.E. “Bean” Backus (1906-1990), and is home to the state’s only permanent multimedia exhibition on the Florida Highwaymen.


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

Cars & Coffee - Saturday, April 8

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.

An addition to the museum's car collection

The 1972 Nova SS has joined the Elliott's car collection on the car gallery floor! It has been restored as a tribute car to the YENKO Novas built in the late 1960s. Yenko Chevrolet was a dealership located at 575 West Pike Street in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Operating from 1949 to 1982, the dealership is best known for selling customized sports cars during the late 1960s.

Referred to presently as "Yenkos," they are among the most collectible 1960s vehicles. Don Yenko would customize Corvairs, Novas, Camaros, Chevelles and Corvettes for his customers. This car has power Steering and brakes, 4 speed transmission, and a 383 CI stroker motor. This car was donated by the estate of Fred Vierling and has been a Tuesday night car show regular for many years.

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

Creativity at its finest

For an explanation, view this video!

This is the last month to view the very creative “Free Electrons” display of artwork from extraordinary award-winning artists, Danuta Rothschild and Torenzo Gann. The exhibit is on the museum's second floor and is included with the Elliott Museum’s regular admission. The final day to see this unique artwork is April 27.

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.


"Fast Facts" — a new feature

Before Henry Ford began using an assembly line it took 12 and a half hours to make each car. After perfecting the assembly line, each car took just 93 minutes to build One vehicle came off the line every three minutes! Learn more here.

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

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.

House of Refuge Gift Shop

Did you know that the House of Refuge Museum has its own gift shop? Well, now you do!

New shirts have arrived and as you can see, they're quite eye-catching!

We also welcome our wedding couple and spring collection of gnomes, which Garden Club of Stuart members created to benefit the gardens at the House of Refuge. A new shipment of books and turtles also has arrived!

Come visit the House of Refuge Museum and stop by to shop.

At the museum's Emporium Museum Shoppe, you'll see plenty of unique items, whether you're shopping for a gift or for yourself. For many children, they'll be looking for the Easter Bunny soon so one of these adorable stuffed bunnies may be the perfect gift. 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.

Community News

Last art show of the season for the Jensen Beach Art League at the Elliott Museum!

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 9, 2023

For more information, visit the website, or send an email to

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