From spears and pioneers to hurricanes and famous names, you will love exploring the past at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum! Our curatorial team strives to create the finest exhibitions, featuring interactive displays, vivid imagery, and stories of Palm Beach past and present.
Building Paradise: Addison Mizner’s Legacy
The next annual exhibition at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum (September 4, 2018 through June 29, 2019) will pay homage to Addison Mizner, who developed a completely new architectural style for Palm Beach that became the standard for Palm Beach County. The year 2018 marks the centennial of Mizner’s first major Florida commission, the Everglades Club in Palm Beach. In addition to his Palm Beach “society” mansions and commercial properties, Mizner is known for spreading his unique style to Boca Raton, which he dreamed of turning into “the world’s most architecturally beautiful playground.” Mizner’s legacy continues in the 21st century as new developments emulate his style and honor his name.
For the first time, the Johnson History Museum has invited a guest curator, Augustus Mayhew, to lend life to the exhibition. Mayhew has gathered artifacts from private collectors and treasures from the Historical Society of Palm Beach County’s collection that show the changes that Mizner introduced to the county, both architectural and in the business community.
When Addison Mizner began building Palm Beach mansions, suitable construction materials were scarce. He then hired craftsmen from Europe and organized a complex of businesses where his visions could be realized. Mizner Industries, Inc. was comprised of several companies. Las Manos Pottery produced roof and floor tiles and decorative pottery. La Puerta sold antiques and reproduction furniture, and the Mizner Ornamental Cut Cast Stone Plant manufactured ornamental building stone. Many businesses continue to produce these same materials for new construction.
Fledgling architects worked in Mizner’s drawing room, producing detailed renderings and construction drawings. Some of them eventually opened architectural firms and incorporated Mizner Industries materials in their own designs.
Building Paradise: Addison Mizner’s Legacy aims to inform and entertain residents and visitors as well as provide an educational platform for the county’s school students. Mizner’s story is told by the Historical Society’s extensive permanent collection of photographs, architectural plans, sketches, scrapbooks, and diaries, as well as decorative objects and furnishings produced by Mizner Industries, the county’s largest 1920 building-related company.
In the Historic Courtroom:
Remembering the Storm of ’28 | Sept. 17 – Jan. 5, 2019
On September 16, 1928, a storm equal to a Category 4 hurricane struck Palm Beach County from Boca Raton to Jupiter. At least 2,500 people died, most of them in the Glades. To commemorate the 90th anniversary of this catastrophe, the Historical Society of Palm Beach County will present an exhibit, Remembering the Storm of ’28, opening on September 17, 2018 in the courtroom of the 1916 Historic Courthouse. Other local historical organizations will join the HSPBC in marking this significant anniversary, and the exhibit will travel to other venues throughout Palm Beach County.