Lecture Series

Distinguished Lecture Series

What:  The Distinguished Lecture Series primarily features authors who speak on historical books or events aligned with our mission: sharing the history of Palm Beach County, Florida, and the Caribbean. Presentations are followed by a light reception, and book signing when appropriate. Authors’ books are available for sale in the Museum Gift Shop.

When:  Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Historic Courtroom, 3rd floor, 1916 County Court House, 300 N. Dixie Highway, downtown West Palm Beach. Free parking is available on lecture nights starting at 6:00 p.m., in the lot accessible from 4th Street that is across from the fire station.

Cost: Free for HSPBC members | $20 for non-members

Reservations: Please call 561.832.4164 ext. 100.

2018-2019 Season

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux and journalist Laura Mize
Florida Made: The 25 Most Important Figures Who Shaped the State (2018)

Senator George LeMieux and Laura Mize will profile twenty-five trailblazers who they believe have most influenced and forever changed the state of Florida. Following the lecture, LeMieux and Mize will be on hand for a light reception and signing of copies of their book, which will be available for purchase in the Museum Store.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Richard René Silvin
Mar-a-Lago: From Post to Trump

What do Marjorie Merriweather Post, Birds Eye Frozen Food, actress Dina Merrill, the Hutton family, and President Trump have in common? All of them have a direct connection to the magnificent Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, whose property stretches from the Atlantic Ocean (Mar) to Lake Worth (Lago). Since its current owner, Donald Trump, became the forty-fifth president of the United States, Mar-a-Lago has become an international household name. Silvin will explore the history of Palm Beach’s current Winter White House.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019
Stephen Perkins and James F. Caughman
Addison Mizner: The Architect Whose Genius Defined Palm Beach (2018)

Addison Mizner (1872-1933) is recognized as one of America’s iconic society architects, who created splendid residences in Palm Beach in the 1920s for such families as Duke, Biddle, Vanderbilt, Phipps, and Wanamaker. Mizner really began his career in architecture at the age of thirty-eight, but he spent most of his early adult life living by his wits and was variously recognized as a humorist, bon vivant, bohemian, prospector, painter, writer, and prize fighter. Caughman and Perkins, of Washington, DC, will complement the current special exhibit of the Johnson History Museum with their presentation of Mizner’s colorful life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
John Capouya
Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band (2017)

When people think about the origins of soul music, they may consider Detroit (home to Motown), Memphis (home to Stax Records and Otis Redding), or New Orleans (which has a rich rhythm and blues history). Florida also has a rich heritage of soul music that has been overlooked, which includes Sam and Dave, Ray Charles, KC and the Sunshine Band, and many other hit-making musicians of the 1960s and ‘70s. University of Tampa Professor John Capouya will play classic R&B, show vintage photos, and share his research into this important musical legacy.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Dr. Sandra Norman
Material Culture: How archaeologists and historians use artifacts to tell the story of the past

This lecture will look at the material culture of American life, how we identify objects, historically and archaeologically, and how they inform us about people and their lives. Today people take Facebook quizzes on 1950s kitchen implements, but how would you identify some from 1650 or interpret their use? Since most people in the past did not leave a written record, this use of material objects is even more important. Dr. Sandra Norman, Associate Professor of History at FAU, teaches classes in Material Culture, Public History, History of Technology, History of Science, and Environmental History.  She uses a lot of “stuff and things” in her classes.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019
James M. Denham
Florida Founder William P. Duval: Frontier Bon Vivant (2015)

William P. DuVal (1784-1854) hailed originally from Virginia but matured on the Kentucky frontier before being appointed territorial governor of Florida in 1822. He founded the territorial capital of Tallahassee, presided at the first meetings of the legislative council, and oversaw relations with the Seminoles.  DuVal was part frontiersman and part sophisticate, at home in the wilds of Kentucky, Florida, Texas, and Washington City. He delighted in telling tall tales, jests, and anecdotes that epitomized America’s expansive, democratic vistas, captivating among others Washington Irving and James Kirke Paulding, who used DuVal’s tall tales as inspiration for their fiction.  Denham, professor of history at Florida Southern College and director of the Lawton M. Chiles Center for Florida History, will share DuVal’s life and times, and sign copies of his book during a reception following the lecture.




Third Thursday @ 3 Lecture Series

What:  Third Thursday @ 3 was initiated to provide a daytime option for those who want to learn more Palm Beach County history.  Attendees are encouraged to visit the admission-free Johnson History Museum on the 2nd floor before or after the lectures.

When:  3:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month during the season

Where:  Historic Courtroom, 3rd floor, 1916 County Court House, 300 N. Dixie Highway, downtown West Palm Beach.  Free parking is available on lecture nights starting at 6:00 p.m., in the lot accessible from 4th Street across from the firehouse.

Reservations: Please call 561.832.4164 ext. 100.

The HSPBC is proud to partner with local restaurants to offer a discount on dining after each Third Thursday lecture. Vouchers will be given out at the lecture.
Lynora’s WPB | 207 Clematis St | 15% off entire menu | no time restriction
Rocco’s Taco’s | 224 Clematis St |  10% off entire menu | Valid immediately following the lecture
Banko Cantina | 114 S Olive Ave  |  50% off entire menu | must be seated by 6pm
Pizza Girls | 114 S Clematis St |  15% off entire menu | no time restriction

2018-2019 Season:

Thursday, January 17, 2019
Patricia Zeiler, Executive Director, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
From a Fort to a City on the New River

Until the freeze of 1895, Henry Flagler was content with his Florida East Coast Railroad that ended in West Palm Beach. After that devastating winter, Flagler decided to expand his railroad south and sent his good friend Philemon Bryan to complete the railbed from Pompano Beach to the New River. Zeiler will share relationships that helped build South Florida and how interconnected the early settlements were, from West Palm Beach to Miami.


Thursday, February 21, 2019
Jamie Stuve, President & CEO, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
Elevating History:  The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Legacy

Known locally as an icon of Palm Beach County, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and its surrounding property is much more. One of only three nationally designated Outstanding Natural Areas in the country, this beautiful heritage site protects not only significant history and archaeology, but also rare Florida habitats, flora, and fauna. Protecting and sharing this rich legacy is the continuing and rewarding mission of the Loxahatchee River Historical Society. Stuve will shed light on how Jupiter Lighthouse became a national destination, and the Society’s vision for the future.


Thursday, March 21, 2019
Sara Ayers-Rigsby, Director, Southwest and Southeast Regions, Florida Public Archaeology Network
The Long Lens of History: Recent excavations at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Outstanding Natural Area has a fascinating history spanning thousands of years.  Archaeological investigations have identified continuous occupation at the site from before European contact through the Coast Guard’s use of the area through the 1980s.  The Florida Public Archaeology Network has been investigating recent historic use of the site through the program Shining a Light on the Past: Archaeology Bootcamp. Ayers-Rigby will highlight discoveries about domestic life and use of the site in the twentieth century.


Thursday, April 18, 2019
Kate Bradley, Archivist & Research Librarian, Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
An Enduring Treasure: Henry Flagler’s Whitehall

Henry Flagler, Florida’s most important developer and benefactor, set new standards for luxury travel in the Gilded Age with his railroad and hotels. Flagler’s legacy of grandeur and beauty lives on today in his 1902 Palm Beach mansion, Whitehall, which serves as the home of the Flagler Museum. As the museum celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of its founding in June 2019, Bradley will reflect upon the importance of this Beaux-Arts National Historic Landmark in the context of the Gilded Age, its rescue from demolition in 1959, and the preservation efforts and discoveries occurring today.





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