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New Friends Group Organizing to Support Lake Wales History Museum

Membership Mixer Sept. 22


Last updated 9/19/2019 at 8:46am

Lake Wales History Museum

The new Friends of the Lake Wales Museum will host a mixer Sunday afternoon, Sept. 22 to recruit members, introduce its board of directors, talk about fundraising projects and describe how people can get involved.

Complimentary refreshments will be served from 2-4 p.m. at the museum, located in the old Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot at 325 South Scenic Highway. The event is free but people are asked to register at

The new friends group is a not-for-profit organization formed in May to provide financial support and help raise awareness for the Lake Wales History Museum, which is owned and operated by the City of Lake Wales.

"There's a host of things that the City does and that's great but the Friends are trying to up the quality of the experience," said John Turley, one of the four founding Board members of the Friends group.

For the last three and one-half years Turley has been one of the museum's most active volunteers, helping catalogue artifacts, set up and take down exhibits and help with whatever needs an extra hand.

"I just enjoy working down there," said Turley, who said he sees many needs beyond what the City can provide. He said with community support the Museum might replace chairs in the meeting room, improve lighting and possibly install its own professional sound system. Currently the Museum borrows a portable sound system from the library.

The Friends group also will be raising funds to help sponsor the popular Speaker's Series, which lost funding this year due to state cuts to the Florida Humanities Council. A major project that is expected to generate significant community interest and support is the restoration of the historic 1916 Seaboard Airline Freight Depot, which will become the Mimi Hardman Collections and Research Center. Hardman helped create the Museum in 1974 and served as its volunteer director for nearly 40 years. The City is including $37,500 in its budget, but the other half of the project $75,000 project needs to be raised from donors.

"We're very serious about our plans to raise money and help out the museum," Turley said. "We're looking for people who want to get involved, help out in supporting us financially and who want to come down and get involved. There's work to be done." The mixer will be the Friends group's first event, and Turley said the group will be looking for more volunteers and additional members of the Board, which now includes Marty Turley, Chip Thullbery, Brandon Alvarado and Museum Director Jennifer D'Hollander. Once additional members are recruited the group will elect officers.

Interested people who can't attend the mixer can get more information by visiting the Museum, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or its website at

A major source of museum support will come from memberships, which range from $20 for an individual to $2,500 for the Gold Pioneer Level. All memberships will come with:

o Subscription to the Lake Wales History Museum newsletter

o 20% discount on retail merchandise in the Gift Shop

o Discounts on programs and event tickets

o Invitations to Member-Only events

o Time Travelers reciprocal membership – Free admission and discounts at more than 250 historical sites and museums in the US and 25 organizations in Florida

o Named listing in the annual report

Membership levels and their benefits are:

FRIEND – $20 - Basic membership benefits for one person

SUPPORTER – $50 - Basic membership benefits for two people and children or grandchildren under the age of 18

BENEFACTOR – $100 - SUPPORTER level benefits PLUS a complimentary copy of "Historic Lake Wales" book

SUSTAINER – $250 - BENEFACTOR level benefits PLUS two complimentary tickets to the History Bus Tour

PIONEER – $500 - SUSTAINER level benefits PLUS an invitation for two to the Director's Annual Luncheon

PATRON – $1,000 - PIONEER level benefits PLUS a private behind the scenes tour up to 15 guests with the Museum Curator

GOLD PIONEER – $2,500 - PATRON level benefits PLUS one-time private use of the museum for up to 50 guests

All memberships are valid for one year. Additional tax-deductible contributions to the Friends of the Museum or the Lake Wales History Museum are welcome and considered outside membership fees. The Friends of the Museum, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide financial support and promote the Lake Wales History Museum.


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