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The mission statement and purpose of the Boca Raton Historical Society is to collect, preserve and present information and artifacts relevant to the past and evolving history of Boca Raton and to maintain a visible role in education and advocacy of historic preservation in our community.
The BRHS is known primarily for its stewardship of two landmark buildings in Boca Raton: Town Hall and the F.E.C. Railway Station (the Count deHoernle Pavilion). Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and have received the Florida Trust's prestigious Historic Preservation Award. These restorations, paid for by private and public funds, are testaments to the community's dedication to preservation. Through these projects, the Historical Society has set the architectural tone for the city and achieved a leadership role in downtown redevelopment and new development in Boca Raton.
The Historical Society offers a wide range of educational opportunities that provide the community with a tangible link between its past and present. Located in Boca Raton's original Town Hall, the Society owns a vital repository of archival information about the formative years of Boca Raton, its families, and its economy. The building's research library houses a permanent exhibition of historic maps, photographs and documents, Mizner memorabilia, and other treasures.
The Historical Society presents special exhibitsthat draw upon its own archival materials. Many of the popular BRHS exhibits have become traveling exhbits at other cultural organizations' sites per their request. Topics range from history and architecture to arts, crafts, and photography. All BRHS exhibits are free and open to the public.
Town Hall Talks is a lecture series hosted by the Historical Society. A variety of historical topics are presented to the community via guest speakers who are experts and/or authorities in their field.
The Historical Society conducts regular toursof the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Boca Express Train Museum, Town Hall, and trolley tours of historic and contemporary Boca Raton . A Scout tour with activities at Town Hall or the Boca Express Train Museum is offered for those seeking the Local Lore and other history badges or patches. Also part of its community outreach programming, the Historical Society offers slide presentations to civic groups and club organizations for a nominal fee.
Ticket To Rideis the Historical Society's signature education program for schools. It is conducted at theBoca Express Train Museumand focuses on the importance of historic preservation as well as local and state history. The program supplements schools' social studies curriculum, aligns with the Sunshine State Standards, and contains FCAT practice skills. It has been approved by the School District of Palm Beach County, which means both bus fare and teacher inservice points are awarded. Other school programs, both on-site and in-classroom, have been developed and presented to area schools.
Lesson plans detailing the local history of Boca Raton are available to teachers and home school groups free of charge. The lesson plans augment the Florida history curriculum taught in local schools. They can be downloaded from the BRHS website.
In the former fire engine bay, the Historical Society operates the Fire Bay Gift Shop appealing to the historian, tourist, and local resident. There you'll find historical photographs; unusual gifts and crafts, souvenirs of Boca Raton past and present, history books published by the Historical Society, other regional history books, and The History of Boca RatonDVD are for sale in the gift shop and the BRHS website's on-line store.
The BRHS website has been crafted with scholarship and accessibility in mind. It received the 2006 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.
- Director of Heritage Education
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