2020: One for the History Books

On March 17, 2020, the Beaches Museum closed its doors and sent staff and volunteers home for what we thought would be a two-week period.  On June 30, we reopened to the public.  In those ensuing four months, we learned a lot, but one thing became abundantly clear—we are MORE than a Museum.

Almost immediately, Museum staff and volunteers began to document and record the impacts of COVID-19 on the beaches’ community.  True to the mission to “preserve and share the distinct history and culture of the beaches area,” the realization that this was history being made before our eyes was not lost on us.  From photos of closed beaches to newspaper articles to copies of every Executive Order, the Museum will create a comprehensive file that will, at some point in our future, become our history.  Signs, face masks and photos of “to-go” cocktails will become the artifacts of 2020!

In addition to archiving the current climate, we took the opportunity to expand our online programming and to engage the community through our social media channels.  From “National Banana Day” to “Fun Fact Fridays,” we used beaches history, articles and photos to entertain and inform our followers when they were looking at their social media more than ever.  All of our past Boardwalk Talks were also made available on YouTube and our past history exhibits will be available on our website within the coming days.

A new app was discovered that allows visitors to learn about the Museum’s history park and its features without the aid of our usual docent-guided tour.  Populated and launched by the hard work of our volunteers (from home), the FREE app gives information, photos and more to anyone who wants!

In what will hopefully be the final challenge of 2020, the Beaches Museum will be moving its annual gala to a virtual experience on September 18, 2020. Beach Legends is in its 7th year but is part of a 40-year tradition of galas for our organization!  This event honors individuals “making tomorrow’s history, today” and is usually a fancy party and program held at TPC Sawgrass.  This year however, the show will go on with a YouTube Live streaming of the program along with a great online silent auction.  While we’ll miss honoring these individuals in person, we look forward to reaching hundreds more people than we usually do with this new format.

Participation in Beach Legends is complimentary; however, we do invite donations at our “virtual supporter” levels and of course, our auction is not to be missed!

We thank the beaches community for their continued support and look forward to seeing you at the Museum soon.

Author: Christine Hoffman/Executive Director, Beaches Museum