Boca Grande Historical Society Annual Report for 2022-23
History Center Accomplishments
Foremost on our list, we or would like to thank all of our supporters at every level for helping us to continue our mission to the community this season. We are grateful for your grace and commitment as we all navigated the post-Ian landscape together.
In order to continue our mission and give back to Boca Grande, we were able to start The Ian Project to collect the voices of island residents. This project will continue as new chapters of progress take place around us. A documentary focusing on our community’s experiences and resilience will be showcased in the coming season as well as documented in our archives. This is a continuing project and we will have more opportunities for those that would like to be interviewed or submit collections of photos or artifacts pertaining to this historic event. Thank you to Lighthouse United Methodist Church, Boca Grande Woman’s Club, Whitty Ransome and Tom Wilcox, Ginny Nicholas, Elsa and Peter Soderberg, Cathy and Robert Gale, Safety Harbor Builders and all of our many sponsors keeping this project afloat. We can’t wait to show you how you all make Boca Grande Strong!
The Boca Grande History Center continues to add items to its vast archives with your thoughtful gifts. The total amount of collections catalogued for public access online have increased from 2,500 items last year to about 4,500 items. In addition to digitized artifacts, we continue to care for items stored in a stable environment with archival-quality materials for perpetual care. Despite the months of closures, we also had a record amount of about 1,200 visitors this year as we expanded our programming and special weekend hours.
Let’s Talk About Florida
We offered five virtual book conversations about Florida with author and volunteer moderators. What started as a necessity when we couldn’t meet in person, has branched out into a very successful program open to all, on-island or off. Special thanks to our sponsor Fergeson Skipper Law Firm in Sarasota and to Mr. Ward and Mr. Edic for attending as special guest speakers.
- Florida Cowboys: Keepers of the Last Frontier by Carlton Ward
- Land of Sunshine/State of Dreams – A Social History of Modern Florida by Gary Mormino
- Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen
- Fisherfolk of Charlotte Harbor by Robert F. Edic
- Coming to Pass: Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change by Susan Cerulean
We were able to host a lecture on Weeds and Seeds: A History of Dining in Southern Florida with archaeologist Natalie De La Torre-Salas, R.P.A. from the Florida Public Archaeology Network. Our maritime lecture has been rescheduled for next season. Thank you to the Shively Charitable Foundation for supporting professional speakers.
This continues to be our most iconic series presenting up close and personal stories and recollections of island history. We couldn’t do this program without our host, Betsy Joiner and the support of Bank of America Private Bank and the Johann Fust Library Foundation.
- Final Rest: Burials of Gasparilla Island by Crystal Diff and Scot Shively
- Family Memories: Life on a Fishing Boar with Julie Jean Robertson
- Island Love Stories with Kathy Futch
- Post Mortem: The Boca Grande Hotel by James Blaha, Trisha Lowe, and Peg Kapustiak
Pop Up Exhibits
This year’s Pop Up focused on The Ian Project and was hosted in a new location along the bike path. Our goal with these exhibits is to engage with community members and visitors in town as you enjoy island life. Thank you to Nancy Lyons for continued support.
This year we debuted a new program to extend our hours for the first Saturday of the month during the height of season. We were all amazed to see our cozy History Center buzzing with 100-200 visitors.
Membership – Donations – Sponsorships
Our members, sponsors, and donors deserve extra gratitude this year for choosing to support our mission of keeping Boca Grande history alive through our public programs and exhibits. You’ve shown us the true meaning of community as we grow our history-loving family. Thank you for helping us to continue the chapters of Boca Grande’s story with new and time-honored friends. We look forward to growing with you for another successful season in 2023-24.
Thank you for being a part of the Boca Grande History Center family!
Crystal Diff, Executive Director
Boca Grande Historical Society
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