Speakers Bureau

Presenting the Past

Bring the richness of Palm Beach County history to your workplace, community group, or classroom. The Historical Society of Palm Beach County speakers open a window to our county’s past through lectures enhanced by PowerPoint presentations.

Please schedule lectures at least three weeks in advance. Presentations are available in-person or online.

The fee for Academic Lectures is $200. A $75 non-refundable deposit is required to secure a date and prepare the lecture.

Contact Rhonda Gordon at rgordon@pbchistory.org or 561.832.4164 ext. 109.

Lectures by our Academic Team

Learn how, in the 1880s, the tiny Jupiter and Lake Worth Railway caused a boom in the number of residents, tourists, and even snowbirds on Lake Worth.

Lena Clarke was a writer, poet, composer, postmistress – and murderer. This sordid tale during the 1920s West Palm Beach boom made national headlines. Presented by Ginger Pedersen, author of Crime, Love, and Murder: Lena Clarke, The Postmistress Killer, which will be available for purchase and personal inscription.

Dive into the life and accomplishments of Henry Flagler, founder of the Florida East Coast Railway and a key figure in the development of Florida’s Atlantic coast from 1840 to today.

Meet four diverse pioneers who impacted early life in Palm Beach County: the Barefoot Mailman in the unique 1885 mail system; Millie Gildersleeve, a freed slave, vegetable farmer, and midwife; Alligator Joe, owner of Palm Beach tourist attractions; and Lillie Pierce Voss, the first non-Native American born between Jupiter and Miami.

The Gilded Age in the United States was a period of quick population growth from immigration, extreme industrial expansion that created great wealth, and lavish displays of that wealth. Nationwide it lasted from about 1877 to 1890. But it did not reach Palm Beach until 1894, when the rest of America was still suffering through the Depression of 1893.

This lecture looks at the Flagler Era, when Henry Flagler brought the Gilded Age to Palm Beach County on his Florida East Coast Railway–wealthy guests of his Royal Poinciana Hotel and Palm Beach Inn (The Breakers) and new, wealthy residents. 

Learn about the architects that helped shape the look of Palm Beach: Addison Mizner, Marion Sims Wyeth, Maurice Fatio, John Volk, and Howard Major. Discover their influences, who lived in the homes they designed, which of their creations were subject to the wrecking ball, and which were conserved through innovative thinking.

This lecture examines the military presence in Palm Beach County during World War II and civilian activities towards the war effort. Topics include the county’s contributions, including two army air bases, a secret listen station, civilian organizations, U-boat hunters, the Coast Guard, military hospitals, and a POW camp.
Many people are surprised to learn that Palm Beach County’s rich history stretches back 12,000 years. This lecture will introduce the county’s earliest Native American residents through historic sites and markers from Jupiter to Boca Raton, and from West Palm Beach to the Glades.

This lecture is a summary of the Johnson History Museum’s temporary exhibit by the same name, created to celebrate the city’s 125th anniversary. It explores how West Palm Beach expanded with the diversity of its people, businesses, and amusements. 

Today Palm Beach County is a modern paradise, easily reached from anywhere in the world, but in the late 19th century, getting here was not so easy. And, when you arrived, a lush jungle paradise greeted you, from which you would have to hack out your homestead. Journey back in time to look at the difficulties of getting here, the settlers’ early homes, life-saving stations, food, hotels, mosquitoes, and pioneer life in what they thought was a “Garden of Eden.”

Explore famous shipwrecks along Palm Beach Coast and find out why there were so many shipwrecks throughout the ages.

Lectures by Docents

Introduces the Historical Society of Palm Beach County and Johnson History Museum with a touch of county history.

Programs run 20 to 60 minutes and can be tailored to fit your interests by making arrangements in advance.

Lectures by Historical Reenactors

Historical Society of Palm Beach County reenactors can be scheduled for live virtual presentations to engage with students as historic characters.

We are not makers of history. We are made by history.