News

Own Any Millard Wells Originals?

Keys History & Discovery Center is looking for submissions for the next exhibit

Islamorada, FL Keys – Keys History & Discovery Center is preparing for its next exhibit, which will include a collection of privately owned artwork by the late Florida Keys Artist Millard Wells. The exhibit will open on June 19, in conjunction with Millard Wells Days events being organized by the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District. The exhibit will run until August 10, 2014.

The display will include a vast collection of Millard’s artwork including the Florida Keys backcountry, the Everglades, Indian Key, lighthouses, local birds and fish species. To be considered for inclusion in this unique collection, please go to www.keysdiscovery.com for the submission form or stop by the Discovery Center, located at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, MM 82. It is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Deadline to submit is Friday, May 13. Credit will be given to the owner of each painting as will the story behind each painting, whether it was a gift, a purchase, or a fishing tournament win. The art will be in a safe and secure indoor environment. For more information, e-mail info@keysdiscovery.com or call 305-922-2237.

A Selection Committee will review all submissions and will choose, in part, to ensure representation of the many subjects featured. Notification will be given by May 30. Pieces selected must be delivered the week of June 9-13.

The current exhibit, “The Art of the Florida Highwaymen and Harry Sonntag, Key Largo’s Hermit Artist,” runs through Sunday, June 1, 2014. The exhibit is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $12. Admission for seniors is $10 and children 13-under are free. The exhibit is sponsored by the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed to develop and operate the Keys History & Discovery Center.

Millard Wells Call for Submissions

Florida Highwaymen and Key Largo’s Hermit Artist Original Paintings on Exhibit

Islamorada, FLCollections of original paintings of Old Florida and Key Largo will be on display at the Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada. The exhibit features two significant collections, The Art of the Florida Highwaymen and Harry Sonntag, Key Largo’s Hermit Artist. These original paintings have never before been on display collectively.

The Highwaymen were a cohort of 25 African-American men and one woman who painted landscapes throughout Florida starting in the 1950s, selling the paintings for $15-30 allowing many to get out of the laborious field work. Sonntag was a nomad artist originally from New York who found his way to the Upper Keys in the late 50s, built a shack in the Mandalay Bay area and opened a studio in an vacant key lime packing house.

The exhibit runs Thursday, April 3 through Sunday, June 1, 2014, at the Discovery Center in Islamorada, MM 82, located at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost. The exhibit is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $12. Admission for seniors is $10 and children 13-under are free. The exhibit is sponsored by the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, a not-for-profit organization formed to develop and operate the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center.

For more information,

305-922-2237

www.keysdiscovery.com

Facebook: Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Two Opportunities to Meet Renowned Photographer Clyde Butcher

Cuba – A Natural Beauty Exhibit Now Open

Islamorada, FL – Renowned photographer and environmentalist Clyde Butcher is coming to Islamorada. The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is pleased to host Butcher for two days, Feb. 12 and 13. His visit coincides with the current exhibit of Cuba – The Natural Beauty, on display at the Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada. The exhibit showcases Cuba in images of the island’s most remoteCuba and mountainous island locations.

Butcher will be mingling with guests and signing books, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 5:30-8:30 p.m., during a Cuban-themed evening with a Cuban menu and cocktails, music and cigars. Cost is $75 per person.

On Thursday, Feb. 13, Butcher will share his experiences and unseen photos about his experiences during the expeditions throughout the Cuban countryside. The exhibit opens at 5 p.m., with the program running from 6-8 p.m. Complimentary appetizers and a cash bar will be available. Cost is $25 per person and includes admission to the exhibit.

Reservations are recommended for each event and can be made by calling 305-304-0052.

Butcher is best known for his evocative black and white photographs of Florida wetlands. The exhibit also includes images from Butcher’s Florida Keys photography collection. Cuba – The Natural Beauty runs through Sunday, March 9, 2014, at the Discovery Center in Islamorada, MM 82, located at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost. The exhibit is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $12. Admission for seniors is $10 and children 13-under are free.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization formed to develop and operate the Keys History & Discovery Center. All proceeds from the events and exhibit go toward supporting the Foundation’s efforts to preserve and share the history of the Keys community.

For more information,

www.keysdiscovery.com

Facebook: Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Jill Miranda Baker
Executive Director
Florida Keys History & Discovery Foundation
P.O. Box 1124
82100 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, FL 33036
305-304-0052

Clyde Butcher to Exhibit Photos of Cuba and the Florida Keys Beginning January 2014

Exhibit of Butcher’s Photos Hosted by the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Islamorada, FL, Dec. 20, 2013 – Renowned landscape photographer and environmentalist Clyde Butcher will showcase the natural beauty of Cuba in images of the island’s most remote and mountainous island locations during a traveling exhibit at the Keys History & Discovery Center, Thursday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, March 9, 2014. The Discovery Center, in Islamorada, MM 82, is located at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost.Coast 2

Butcher is best known for his evocative black and white photographs of Florida wetlands. The exhibit also will include images from Butcher’s Florida Keys photography collection. The museum opens Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $12.

Foundation President Richard Russell said, “We are thrilled to welcome back Clyde Butcher, America’s modern day Ansel Adams, with photos he has taken in the Florida Keys and Cuba. This unique exhibit will be of intense interest. Most of us are familiar with photos of Havana and other population centers. We are less familiar with the natural beauty of the Cuban countryside.

“In 2002, Clyde traveled to Cuba at the invitation of the United Nations and shot pictures of the Sierra Maestra Mountains in Cuba’s eastern province of Granma, the south coast of Cuba between Manzanillo and Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and the region of Pinar del Rio. The images are amazing and will be of particular interest to those of Cuban heritage who will have a chance to see scenes of their native land that they most likely have never seen before,” Russell said.

Foundation Executive Director Jill Miranda Baker said, “It’s very exciting to have Clyde here with the exhibit. His impressive largeformat prints hang in museums around the country, in Florida’s state Capitol building and at Miami International Airport, as well as in many private collections. In connection with the exhibit, Clyde will be on hand to discuss his work and sign books and photos for those who wish to add to their Butcher collections or start a new one. We’ll have additional details soon.”

About the Foundation: The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is a not-for-profit organization formed to develop and operate the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center at the Florida Keys Conference Center of the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost. The History & Discovery Center will include a state-of-theart 40-seat theater and exhibit space totaling 7,500 square feet.

The foundation’s geographic emphasis is generally on the history of the Upper Keys, but encompasses other areas to help tell the stories and preserve that history in a meaningful, entertaining and educational manner. The Discovery Center will appeal to local residents, school groups, tourists, adults, families and scholars interested in the area. The Foundation Board is working with museum professionals in the community and beyond to develop and create the activities of the Discovery Center.

The Foundation Board and committees are composed of members of the community with an interest in preserving the history of the Upper Keys and linking that history to the overall geography and experience of the total Florida Keys to inspire appreciation for our island chain. The exempt educational purpose of the Foundation is furthered by the development and maintenance of a world-class Discovery Center that accurately reflects the history of the Florida Keys community in a multi-faceted and interactive environment.

For more information,

www.keysdiscovery.com

Facebook: Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Contact: Rich Russell 305-522-0948, Jill Miranda Baker 305-304-
0052

Florida Keys History & Discovery Foundation To Scan, Preserve And Display George Hommell Photos and Historical Items

Islamorada, Fl, November 30, 2013 – The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is pleased to announce that it has received photos and other historical items from the family of fishing guide legend George Hommell, Jr. to be scanned, preserved and displayed.Hommell Bush

The Foundation expects this will be the first of numerous private collections that it will be entrusted with to help preserve. Experts at Florida International University handle the digitization process.

The Discovery Center, located in the conference center at the Islander Resort in Islamorada, plans to display photos from Hommell’s private collection at the forthcoming Reel Legends of the Line exhibit coming to the Discovery Center in February.

Foundation President Richard Russell said, “George Hommell was a much beloved member of our community. He helped to redefine the role of fishing guides in the Upper Keys. He fished with many well-known outdoorsmen including baseball legend Ted Williams, professional golfer Jack Nicklaus and President George H. W. Bush, our 41st president. We feel privileged and honored that George’s daughter Mary Ellen has entrusted our foundation with the important task of digitally preserving George’s amazing collection of photos and other memorabilia.”

Foundation Curator Brad Bertelli said, “Hommell was great because he recognized that there was more to being a fishing guide than landing fish, George proved instrumental in establishing the practices and standards recognized by the sport fishing community today.

“A champion of the environment, Hommell was a founding member of the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust whose mission is to conserve and enhance global bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and their environment. Along with local legend Jimmie Albright, Hommell worked more than most fishing guides because many of his clients were referred to him by the Miami Beach Rod and Reel Club, a prestigious fishing club established on Hibiscus Island in the early 1930s.

“While certainly remembered for his client list, George Hommell is perhaps more importantly remembered for his role in redefining fishing techniques. He also set the bar for the decorum and professionalism displayed by Islamorada fishing guides. Ted Williams used to say that George had the biggest heart in the business, but might have been better known for his keen eyes. Even in a group of guides, George was the first to spot a bonefish.

“Hommell was not satisfied with just leaving the dock to accommodate a client. In fact, he was one of the first guides to trailer his skiff in order to find the best possible locale to find a good bite. An innovator, Hommell also was one of the first to design a fly with an eye, a bead eye, and called it the Hommell Evil Eye.

“There are quite a few more fascinating aspects to the George Hommell story, which we will be telling in the future, Bertelli said.

About the Foundation: The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is a nonprofit entity formed to develop and operate the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center and Theatre in the Conference Center of the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost. When completed, the Discovery Center will include a state-of-the-art 40-seat theater and exhibit space totaling 7,500 square feet The foundation’s geographic emphasis is generally on the history of the Upper Keys, but encompasses other areas to help tell the stories and preserve that history in a meaningful, entertaining and educational manner. The Discovery Center will appeal to local residents, school groups, tourists, adults, families and scholars interested in the area. The Foundation Board is working with museum professionals in the community and beyond to develop and create the activities of the Discovery Center.

The Foundation Board and committees are composed of members of the community with an interest in preserving the history of the Upper Keys and linking that history to the overall geography and experience of the total Florida Keys to inspire appreciation for our island chain. The exempt educational purpose of the Foundation is furthered by the development and maintenance of a world-class Discovery Center that accurately reflects the history of the Florida Keys community in a multi-faceted and interactive environment.

For more information:

www.keysdiscovery.com

Facebook: Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Contacts: Rich Russell 305 522-0948, Brad Bertelli 305 395-9889, Jill Miranda Baker
305 304-0052, Frank Hawkins 305 451-1888

Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation Appoints Jill Miranda Baker as Executive Director

Islamorada, Fl, November 22, 2013 — The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Jill Miranda Baker as Executive Director. Most recently Jill has been serving as manager of medical staff services at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier.Jill

Foundation President Richard Russell said, “We are fortunate to be able to attract a person of Jill’s caliber as executive director of our foundation. Jill is active and is highly regarded throughout the community. She has a real affection for the Florida Keys and its history and has a deep knowledge of our community and its people. I am confident she will provide us with the energy and leadership to lead the foundation in meeting its goals of creating and sustaining a world-class history and discovery center that will be a show piece for our community.”

Director George Hertel said, “Bringing Jill on board following the signing of our lease with the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, and hiring historian Brad Bertelli as our curator, represents another major step forward in our ongoing progress toward developing a world class discovery center. There is still much to be done, but Jill has the leadership qualities, the network of relationships, the diversity of experience and passion for our community to get us where we want to go.”

Jill Miranda Baker said, “I am extremely excited about this opportunity. It was not easy to leave Mariners Hospital/Baptist Health, which is truly a great company with great leadership. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities that I was given at Mariners and the many good friends that I made there. But the challenge of working with the foundation and building out a world-class history and discovery center was irresistible. With the support of the foundation board and David Curry at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, and my many friends throughout the Keys, we are going to create a treasure for our community and an exciting new destination facility for our visitors.”

A native of South Florida, Jill began her career as a reporter for the Deerfield BeachObserver before joining the South Florida Newspaper Network. She spent several years working for State Representative Rick Minton, Jr. before joining Mariners in 1997 as manager, marketing and public relations. She became manager, medical staff services in 2005.

She has received numerous awards including various Mark of Excellence awards from the Florida Society of Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing. In 2002, she was named Woman of the Year by the Upper Keys Business & Professional Women’s group. In 2011, she received the Certified Green Business Award from Keys GLEE for Mariner’s activities, commitment and practice for a sustainable environment.

She is recently served as chairman of the board of the Good Health Clinic and is on the board of the Upper Keys Rotary Club. She is an ambassador of the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce and in the past has held board level positions with the Treasure Village Montessori Charter School, the Florida Keys Area Health Education Center, the Rural Health Network of Monroe County and the Upper Keys Business & Professional Women. She is a 1999 graduate of Leadership Monroe.

Jill is married to long-time backcountry fishing guide Duane Baker, who currently serves as the Commodore of the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association. They have two children. She is a graduate of Lynchburg College with degrees in Communications/journalism and sociology and has a Master of Management Degree from the University of Phoenix.

About the Foundation: The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is a nonprofit entity formed to develop and operate the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center and Theatre in the Conference Center of the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost. When completed, the Discovery Center will include a state-of-the-art 40-seat theater and exhibit space totaling 7,500 square feet.

The foundation’s geographic emphasis is generally on the history of the Upper Keys, but encompasses other areas to help tell the stories and preserve that history in a meaningful, entertaining and educational manner. The Discovery Center will appeal to local residents, school groups, tourists, adults, families and scholars interested in the area. The Foundation Board is working with museum professionals in the community and beyond to develop and create the activities of the Discovery Center.

The Foundation Board and committees are composed of members of the community with an interest in preserving the history of the Upper Keys and linking that history to the overall geography and experience of the total Florida Keys to inspire appreciation for our island chain. The exempt educational purpose of the Foundation is furthered by the development and maintenance of a world-class Discovery Center that accurately reflects the history of the Florida Keys community in a multi-faceted and interactive environment.

For more information,

www.keysdiscovery.com

Facebook: Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Contact: Rich Russell 305 522-0948, George Hertel 305 393-1303, Frank Hawkins 305
451-1888

Historian Brad Bertelli Named Curator of Florida Keys History & Discovery Foundation

Islamorada, Fl, November 11, 2013 – Keys Historian Brad Bertelli has been named curator of the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation. The well-known writer, author and tour guide will Brad-Bertellibe responsible for collecting, cataloging and preserving historical photos, maps, documents and other materials deeded over the foundation and used in the foundation’s exhibits.

Foundation President Richard Russell said, “This is a major appointment for the foundation.  Brad has emerged as one of the most prolific and knowledgeable historians about the Upper Keys. He is closely associated with Jerry Wilkinson and serves as vice-president of the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys. Brad is already proving to be invaluable in helping us locate historical materials that can be used in future exhibits. He is a key part of our effort to help preserve the unique collections of local residents and historians.”

Director George Hertel said, “Brad is an amazing asset to our rapidly growing operation. His knowledge of Keys history along with his passion and expertise represent a major step forward in our progress. We are delighted he agreed to join us.”

Brad Bertelli said, “This is a dream job for me. My desire is to keep the history of the Florida Keys and particularly the Upper Keys alive. We already have numerous initiatives under way. It’s truly exciting to think what is ahead of us and how much this is going to mean to the people of the Keys and others who are interested in our history.”

A native of California, Brad moved to the Keys in 2001 after earning his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Miami. He began studying the history of the Keys and working with Jerry Wilkinson in 2009.

Earlier this year, he opened his company, Historic Upper Keys Walking Tours. He is the author of four books about the Keys including two produced together with Jerry Wilkinson,  “Key Largo,” which was published in 2012, and ‘Islamorada,” which is scheduled for publication in 2014.

Brad writes a bi-weekly history column for “The Reporter” newspaper and has been published in the “Miami Herald,” “Key West History Magazine,” “Upper Keys Times,” “Florida Scuba News” and “Southern Tide and Trail.” He has published several fictional short stories and has written an as yet unpublished novel.

Brad is a member of the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce, Florida Outdoors Writers Association and the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys.  He has won a number of literary awards.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from California State University in Long Beach and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Miami. He and his wife Michelle live in Tavernier.

About the Foundation:  The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is a non-profit entity formed to develop and operate the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center and Theatre in the Conference Center of the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost.  When completed, the Discovery Center will include a state-of-the-art 40-seat theater and exhibit space totaling 7,500 square feet

The foundation’s geographic emphasis is generally on the history of the Upper Keys, but encompasses other areas to help tell the stories and preserve that history in a meaningful, entertaining and educational manner. The Discovery Center will appeal to local residents, school groups, tourists, adults, families and scholars interested in the area. The Foundation Board is working with museum professionals in the community and beyond to develop and create the activities of the Discovery Center.

The Foundation Board and committees are composed of members of the community with an interest in preserving the history of the Upper Keys and linking that history to the overall geography and experience of the total Florida Keys to inspire appreciation for our island chain.  The exempt educational purpose of the Foundation is furthered by the development and maintenance of a world-class Discovery Center that accurately reflects the history of the Florida Keys community in a multi-faceted and interactive environment.

For more information:

www.keysdiscovery.com

Facebook: Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Contacts: Rich Russell 305 522-0948, George Hertel 305 393-1303, Frank Hawkins 305 451-1888

 

 

 

Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation Signs 50-Year Lease

Islamorada, Fl, October 23, 2013 — The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is proud to announce the formal signing of a 50-year lease for the use of 7,500 square feet of the beautiful new conference center at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, to create a museum and discovery center. The Islander is located at MM82.1 ocean side.1404860_406412132818986_1601673770_o

The contract was signed by Foundation President Rich Russell and Islander owner David Curry (seated). Standing behind them (l to r) are Directors Dr. Kinzy Jones and Dick Saylor, Foundation Curator and Historian Brad Bertelli and Directors George Hertel and Phyllis Mitchell. Absent from the photo were Directors Frank Hawkins, Cale Smith, Henry Rosenthal and Buddy Pinder.

Foundation President Russell said, “This is an historic moment for our community. Thanks to the vision and generosity of David Curry and the Islander, we now have a amazing facility that will enable us to create a world class museum and discovery center to preserve and celebrate the rich history of the Florida Keys.”

Director George Hertel said, “The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation is now well on its way to realizing the dream that so many have had to create a facility that will appeal to students, residents and visitors to the Keys. We have access to volumes of rich historical material and highly creative people who will help us bring that history alive in ways that will both thrill and educate. We are excited by the encouragement and support given us by Historian Jerry Wilkinson and our new curator, Brad Bertelli. We also are getting good support from members of the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys. In the next few months, we will have a series of exciting announcements that will show our progress.”

David Curry, owner of The Islander, a Guy Harvey Resort, said, “I have long believed that the Upper Keys community would benefit from a facility that would entertain and inform people about the history of the Florida Keys. It’s a pleasure working with the members of the foundation who are working so hard to make this happen.”

About the Islander: The perfect Florida Keys vacation getaway and sport fishing destination, the Islander Resort, the newest Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, is ideal for vacationing with friends and family, as well as the perfect spot for a wedding, a romantic getaway and even a business meeting. Islamorada gives you the best in boating, fishing, diving and dining. The resort brings you the best lounging and living the Florida Keys has to offer and features two waterfront resorts that offer you the choice of sunrise or sunset, oceanfront or bayside views. The Conference Center is the site for the Discovery Center and Theater. The Discovery Center will include a state-of-the-art 40-seat theater and exhibit space totaling 7,500 square feet.

With breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, the facility is a paradise for midsize meetings, offering a unique oceanfront venue for luxury weddings, private receptions and corporate events designed for those seeking refuge from the ordinary.

About the Foundation:  The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation was formed in 2013 as a non-profit entity for the purpose of developing and operating the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center and Theatre.

The geographic emphasis will be on the Upper Keys, but will encompass other areas as needed to tell the stories in a way that will preserve that history in a meaningful, entertaining and educational manner. The Discovery Center will be interesting and appealing to local residents, school groups from Monroe County and Miami Dade counties and beyond, tourists; adults, families, and scholars interested in indigenous culture of the area. The Foundation Board is working with museum professionals in the community and beyond to develop and create the activities of the Discovery Center.

The Foundation Board and committees are composed of members of the community who have demonstrated an interest in preserving the history of the Upper Keys and linking that history to the overall history, geography and experience of the total Florida Keys to further appreciation for our island chain.   The exempt educational purpose of the Foundation is furthered by the development and maintenance of a world-class Discovery Center that accurately reflects the history of the Florida Keys community in a multi-faceted and interactive environment.

The development and operation of the Discover Center is a major activity of the Foundation.  The Foundation will be funded by a combination of grants, governmental allocations, contributions from the general public, membership fees, program fees, sales of related merchandise and other activities related to its exempt function.

For more information,

www.keysdicovery.com

www.islanderfloridakeys.com

Contact: Rich Russell 305 522-0948, George Hertel 305 393-1303, Frank Hawkins 305 451-1888