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Our Place in the Community

Part of our vision and values is to connect with the community and provide a historical backdrop to progress and change.

  • The Delray Beach Historical Society was founded in 1964, and the Ethel Sterling Williams History Learning Center and Archive was established in 2009. This state-of-the-art and award-winning center houses the City’s history and heritage and is open for local research. The Archive Bunker is built of concrete and steel, space rated to withstand a category five hurricane. Features of the Bunker include incandescent low-level lighting, air-conditioning and dehumidifying to maintain a constant temperature and humidity, a gas back-up generator in case of long-term interruption of power, and industry-standard library track rolling shelves—all to preserve the record of Delray Beach history.

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  • The Society was instrumental in the formation of a historic preservation ordinance that resulted in a seven-member Preservation Board to designate and preserve historic buildings in Delray Beach.
  • The Society researched and facilitated the critically important designation of Delray Beach’s five historic districts.
  • The Delray Beach Historical Society provided funding support and fostered the development of Spady Cultural Heritage Museum and The Preservation Trust.
  • Society members worked with the Old School Square Foundation to fund and plan the restoration of Old School Square. The site was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
  • The Society continues to partner with area cultural centers and organizations including the Delray Beach Public Library, Old School Square, Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, the Chamber of Commerce, The Arts Warehouse, Sandoway Discovery Center, Institute for Regional Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Florida Surfing History Museum and the Florida Coalition for Preservation.
  • The Society continues to lead in honoring our cultural heritage by managing the City archive collection and serving as a vibrant center for community life.