Though the recorded history of Palm Beach may not be as deep-rooted as, say, London, that does not mean the story lacks depth, range and its fair share of characters. Preserving our collected history is no easy task, but the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, a dedicated group located in the historic 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse, is archiving and continuing the story for future generations.
History is a convoluted concept. Throughout our years of schooling, we learn about important events, dates and individuals described in history books. But these accounts don’t scratch the surface of the story of our collective humanity, with each individual adding a wrinkle to the conversation.
These lesser-known stories, lives and pieces of information, invaluable and incalculable, often are only remembered by a select few. Yet that is, in essence, what history boils down to—lessons, memories and experiences that help shape the future and make the present. The stories that fly under the radar of the textbook, memoir or biography more often than not slip into the ether. But some are snagged in the net of groups and organizations like the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. They preserve, archive and continue the conversation of the past, making it collective while giving it a contextual and accessible present.
This is not easy, and often not very glamorous, but is nonetheless important. The Historical Society has dedicated itself to “preserve and share the history of Palm Beach County, Florida and the Caribbean” with an extensive library and archives that include nearly two million photographs, maps, newspapers, journals, periodicals, architectural drawings and research files. The organization has formed a unique and invaluable resource and facility for present-day research into the lives and events that shaped Palm Beach County. All the while, it continues its mission of creating educational programs for schools and the community to aid in “building an understanding and appreciation of local history in our children.”
Believe it or not, Florida is celebrating its quincentennial of Western discovery this year. The Historical Society of Palm Beach County is one of the leading voices in the Viva Florida 500 initiative, a statewide celebration of the anniversary of Juan Ponce de Léon’s discovery. Along with the exhibition “Claiming La Florida: On Board with Juan Ponce de Léon” at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, the Young Friends of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County is hopping aboard the de Léon bandwagon with its second annual Signature Bash of the Young Friends on February 22. Commemorating Florida’s 500th anniversary and inspired by the museum’s exhibit, The Fountain of Youth ball will take over The Beach Club with a fabulous patio cocktail reception, followed by dancing and tapas. The exclusive event—invite only—costs $250 per person and is sure to be one for the record books (literally—it is the Historical Society, after all).
Attire: Cocktail Chic
For more information, call 561-832-4164 ext. 103 or visit historicalsocietypbc.org.