The Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum is a countywide museum that enriches the lives of children and adults alike by making local history accessible, interesting, and meaningful. The restored building also serves as the headquarters of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. The Museum contains two permanent galleries; The People Gallery and The Place Gallery, and one rotating Special Exhibit Gallery that changes annually.
The People Gallery is a tribute to more than 100 individuals and families who have contributed to the development of Palm Beach County. Exhibits include: A video display projecting images of people from all walks of Palm Beach County life. Kiosks and exhibits with artifacts to help tell the stories behind the colorful characters of the past, including Pre-Columbian inhabitants, Seminole Indians, early pioneers. In The Place Gallery, models and photographs explore Palm Beach County’s natural environment and the animals and ecology that make it unique. Here exhibits include a giant mosquito, banyan tree, snake, alligator, and a recreation of a “palmetto shack,” the frond-topped dwellings the first pioneers built for themselves.
In the Special Exhibit Gallery from September 5, 2017 — June 30, 2018 "Shipwreck!". Through this exhibit, you can learn about the tragic and yet sometimes colorful history of Atlantic Florida coast shipwrecks and the how they shaped the culture of the region, from the Spanish colonial times to today. The call went out from south Florida lighthouses to rescue crew and passengers when possible, and often to make good use of ship materials and contents. First identified and named by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, the Gulfstream Current has since been utilized by shipping traffic as a nautical highway. The current’s proximity to the east coast of Florida, the often volatile nature of the Atlantic Ocean, and the frequency with which the area is visited by hurricanes all speak to the abundance of shipping disasters throughout history.
Historical Society of Palm Beach County was formed in 1937 and housed the county archives in multiple locations throughout the century. On January 9, 2008, the Society moved their offices and archives into the restored 1916 Courthouse in West Palm Beach. On March 15, 2008, they opened the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum on the second floor. The Museum finally solved the problem that had prevented the collection from fully serving its critical purpose: to share and showcase the rich history of Palm Beach County and the larger context of Florida’s heritage dating back at least 12,000 years.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
ADDRESS: 300 N Dixie Hwy
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
HOURS: Monday through Friday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Museum is closed on Sunday and major holidays.
page information credit: Historical Society of Palm Beach County
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors