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The Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 on Display

More than 80 images and stories of before and after the storm

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Islamorada, FL – A photographic collection of the destruction caused by the strongest hurricane to ever hit land in North America is on display at the Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada.

The exhibit, The Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, opens Thursday, Aug. 28 and features more than 80 black and white images that not only capture the Upper Keys before the storm, but also the extraordinary aftermath.

The initial forecasting of the storm, survivors’ accounts of during and after the storm, and the rebuilding of the Upper Keys is documented in stories surrounding the telling images. Read many first-hand accounts from WWI veterans working on a solid bridge system to replace the automobile ferries. Learn about the pig that survived and greeted his owner days after the storm. See photos of the construction and dedication of the Florida Keys Monument built to honor the nearly 500 veterans and residents who lost their lives in the storm. And discover how the surviving residents of the Upper Keys rebuilt after this massive destruction.

The exhibit runs Thursday, Aug. 28 through Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, at the Discovery Center in Islamorada, MM 82, located at the Islander Resort. 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, call 305-922-2237 or visit our website at www.keysdiscovery.com.

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, 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. 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. 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

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.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. 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

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. 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

 

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 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 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, 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

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