Boca’s history gifts preview new exhibits

Boca and Florida-inspired gifts helped the historical society celebrate Mizner Park’s 30th anniversary for the holidays. On sale in a pop-up shop the Saturday before Christmas was everything from baby bibs, to tea towels, golf towels and jigsaw puzzles with Boca images.
“We sold out this year’s ornament for the first time,” Fire Bay gift shop manager Michelle Essaye said in preparation for the outdoor sale. Patrons pulled up outside Old Town Hall across the street to collect the 2020 Mizner Park and earlier Christmas tree ornaments. “We never thought we’d sell out, but everybody has a Mizner Park story. It’s a place that brings everyone together,” she said.
“People remember when Mizner Park was built,” Boca Raton Historical Society executive director Mary Csar added. Essaye was outside since the circa 1927 building turned society headquarters has been closed since October. The reopening date will be announced in early 2021.
The $3.9 million redesign and renovation will make way for “History Alive.” New exhibits will be installed to appeal to all ages and research buffs, from Boca’s founding architect Addison Mizner to the World War II airfield and the former IBM complex.
The new permanent galleries will include:
* Historic Timeline starting with the earliest Pre-Columbian inhabitants up to the 21st century.
* Pioneer Days focused on the local heritage of a small farming community.
* Addison Mizner, featuring the museum’s important collection of Mizner Industries and architectural drawings and images of the architect’s plans, which put the tiny town of Boca Raton on the map in the 1920s.
* World War II, when the Boca Raton Army Airfield served as the Air Corps’ top secret radar training facility.
* IBM, featuring an extraordinary collection of functioning vintage IBM PCs.
The Council Chamber will feature display areas and cabinetry for changing exhibits and will also function as the museum’s lecture hall. The redesigned research Library will house the society’s extensive archival collections and provide workstations for research patrons.
The society is still raising funds, and naming opportunities are still available. Anyone interested can contact Csar at
By Marci Shatzman


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