On June 15th the Palm Coast Historical Society received a little helping hand from local artists after an exhibition during the Florida Inland Navigation District Commission’s public outreach event in Palm Coast in May.

Flagler County FIND Commissioner Randy Stapleford created a showcase experience for the constituent outreach event at the Palm Coast Community Center, where attendees could speak with FIND commissioners about issues.

Invited artists displayed their waterway-themed works, agreeing to donate a portion of the sales to the Palm Coast Historical Society, and last Wednesday Stapleford was pleased to present the check to organization president Elaine Studnicki at the historical society’s museum location.

“It’s because of people like Randy Stapleford and FIND that the historical society can reach out to community members with programming,” shared Studnicki. “That collaboration and communication is invaluable for our whole community.”

The Palm Coast Historical Society has taken on an increased visibility in the community, starting with the 50th anniversary programming in 2020 and has continued to build on the momentum with a speaker series, funded in part by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council.

Stapleford is working with Studnicki and fellow volunteers to create a space for the Florida Inland Navigation District’s story within the museum.

“The money will help design a new exhibit based on the waterways in Palm Coast and here in Flagler County,” said Studnicki. “Hopefully it will highlight how important FIND is and the good work that they do.”

Tracing waterway history back to the area’s earliest inhabitants, Studnicki and vice president Kathy Reichard-Ellvasky hope to learn more about the connection between the modern day Intracoastal Waterway and the historic waterways used to transport goods by settlers like Mala Compra Plantation’s Joseph Hernandez.

“There is really an historic thread between FIND and our early history,” said Studnicki.

The Palm Coast Historical Society also has plans to launch a Historical Academy in conjunction with the Flagler County Historical Society in early 2023.

“It’s going to be in January and modeled to a certain extent on the police academy and the citizen’s academy except this is going to take all of Flagler County history and over a six week period, professional speakers will be in to talk about the history of our county,” shared Studnicki.

While the academy is in development, the Palm Coast Historical Society will continue to work with organizations like the Florida Inland Navigation District to connect history back to the community.

“I was motivated to come up with this idea during the dedication ceremony, dedicated to my predecessor Jon Netts, the former mayor and former commissioner of the Flagler waterways,” said Stapleford.

“There’s such a connection between Flagler County, the waterways and the museum so we want to maintain that relationship and build from that,” he said.

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