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The Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum, 71 N. Federal Highway, will be renamed the Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum following a recent $1 million donation from the Schmidt Family Foundation.
Led by Barbara and Dick Schmidt, the donation will sponsor the museum’s public display areas, new immersive exhibits and internal gathering spaces such as the historic Council Chamber and research library.
The new exhibits will display the growth and development of Boca Raton from a small farming town to the internationally recognized city today. The museum plans to officially relaunch on Wednesday, Nov. 3.
“The Schmidt Family Foundation has been a longtime partner and generous supporter of this museum going all the way back to Boca Raton’s original downtown redevelopment plan in the 1980s,” said Mary Csar, the executive director of the Boca Raton Historical Society + Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum.
“This donation — one of the largest in the museum’s nearly 50-year history — will underwrite a significant portion of our ongoing top-to-bottom reimagination, redesign and renovation, leading up to our official reopening and relaunch later this year. … The historic Boca Raton Town Hall has been our home since the mid-1980s. But, due to space limitations, our exhibitions have been temporary and largely two-dimensional.”
Incorporating artifacts and images from the museum’s history collections, five new permanent galleries will be added to the museum: the Boca Raton Timeline, Pioneer, Addison Mizner, World War II and IBM.
Along with the added exhibits, the Council Chamber will feature display areas and cabinetry for changing exhibits and will also function as the museum’s lecture hall.
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The redesigned research library is set to house archival collections and provide work areas for research patrons.
“The history of Boca Raton is important to our community,” Dick Schmidt said in a statement,” so it is important to me and my family, a legacy that began with my parents, Charles and Dorothy Schmidt.”
Other major donors include Barbara and Bobby Campbell, the Vegso Family Foundation, Christine E. Lynn, E.M. Lynn Foundation, Roberti Family Foundation, Mike and Amy Kazma, Janice V. Middlebrook, Boca Raton Airport Authority, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Baptist Health South Florida.
In other museum news, the Boca Raton City Council recently approved $590,000 for the reconstruction costs of the city-owned building that houses the Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum. The funding is in addition to the city’s original grant of $650,000 and will cover unexpected costs including extensive plumbing, foundation and electrical work at the 1927 Old Town Hall.