Day 3


Night at the Flagler

Friday evening’s event will immerse conference attendees in Palm Beach history and culture during a program and on-site reception at the Flagler Museum. When it was completed in 1902, the New York Herald proclaimed that Whitehall, Henry Flagler's Gilded Age estate in Palm Beach, was "more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world." During the last 122 years, Whitehall has been many things: a private home, a private club, a grand hotel - and for the last 65 years, a museum and National Historic Landmark. Stripped of nearly all its contents a hundred years ago, today Whitehall’s appearance is nearly indistinguishable from when it was completed in 1902. The story of the restoration of Whitehall and the recovery of its contents over the last 25 years is one of incredibly good luck, two dozen capital projects, and a lot of very hard work by a team led by the Museum’s Executive Director, John Blades. Hear directly from Mr. Blades about this work during his lecture titled “From an Abandoned Hotel to a Nationally Recognized Museum and National Historic Landmark.”

As Executive Director of the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum since 1995, John Blades has overseen the complete restoration of Whitehall and the construction of the first public building built in the Beaux Arts style in more than six decades. During his tenure, the Flagler Museum was designated a National Historic Landmark, re-accredited three times by the American Alliance of Museums and was one of only five museums in the Nation to receive those honors as well as the Ross Merrill Award for its Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections. Today, the Flagler Museum is Florida’s premier house museum and one of a very small group of house museums considered among the best in the Nation.

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