History Fort Lauderdale, proud steward of our community’s past by making our heritage accessible and engaging to residents and visitors, is shining a spotlight on local pioneering families who have shaped our diverse city. Beginning April 30, the attraction will house “Your Story is Our Story,” an anniversary preservation collaborative initiative and photo exhibition. Through modern visual storytelling, History Fort Lauderdale will present the backgrounds, cultural traditions, and personal stories of Fort Lauderdale’s past and present residents. An opening reception will take place on Sunday, April 30, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at the New River Inn Museum of History building on History Fort Lauderdale’s campus. The exhibit runs through May 31.
“Our residents are what make our city such a special place. Fort Lauderdale is filled with an abundance of unsung heroes and stories about hope, dreams, perseverance, and resilience,” said Patricia Zeiler, executive director of History Fort Lauderdale. “Through research and the generosity of area families, History Fort Lauderdale is proud to showcase these personal triumphs and celebrate the people who have shaped our community. We invite visitors to discover more about these pioneering predecessors who have left an immeasurable impact.”
Over 15 families will be showcased in “Your Story is Our Story.” Through photographs and personal effects, visitors will learn about families including the Dallas Family whose Broward County lounge hosted legendary entertainers including Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, the Bengochea Family, represented through Arturo Bengochea’s entrepreneurial ventures and historic role as Cuba’s first commissioner of baseball, and the Smith Family, featuring Shelby and Louisa Gutierrez-Gonzalez Smith’s love story and partnership in operating 19 Florida pharmacies. Visitors will also learn about the Striggles Family and Willie James Striggles, the first African American male nurse in Broward County, the Cheaney Family who arrived in 1919 and patriarch NB Cheaney who rose to prominence on the financial scene serving as first president of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association after establishing it alongside fellow Fort Lauderdale pioneers George English and C.H. Lindfors and was a founding board member of the Landmark Bank, the Oliver Family and many more inspiring stories.
History Fort Lauderdale is home to a variety of engaging multicultural experiences, year-round. Permanent exhibits include “From Dugouts to Dream Yachts,” a visual narrative weaving the story of the ever-changing use of Fort Lauderdale’s waterways by following the strokes of the first people to today’s sightseers, “The Bryans of Fort Lauderdale” which allows visitors to experience the story of the City of Fort Lauderdale as told through the pioneer family that shaped its development from an agricultural outpost in 1896 to a bustling city in the 1920s to its current status as a leading Metropolis, “Juliette Lange: A Portrait of a Mezzo Soprano,” a fashion and lifestyle glimpse of the socially prominent Fort Lauderdale resident with a lauded career as a star vocalist of musical comedy, plus “Archaeology of the New River” and a multitude of stories and photos sharing the history of other founding families of Fort Lauderdale. The nonprofit museum also hosts art, artifacts, traveling exhibits and an artists’ collective collaborative space.
History Fort Lauderdale is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with docent guided tours, daily, at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Group walking tours are available upon special request. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for seniors and $7 for students (through age 22 with a valid student ID). Admission is free for members, military and children ages six and under. Tickets are available online at HistoryFortLauderdaleTickets.
For more information about History Fort Lauderdale, please call (954) 463-4431 or visit us online at historyfortlauderdale.org.Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/ftlhistory, on Instagram @ftlhistory and on Twitter @FTLHistory. Subscribe to us on YouTube at youtube.com/user/FTLhistory.