PALM COAST, Fla. (February 11, 2023) – Closing out the inaugural Flagler County History Academy on January 31, instructors and guest speakers sat for an impromptu recap of the course. The round table discussion offered feedback on what worked, where the opportunities exist and if there will be an expansion of the program.
Created through a collaboration between the Palm Coast Historical Society and Museum and the Flagler County Historical Society, the multi-week course offered a glimpse into the history of Flagler County, long before it became Flagler County in 1917.
“I’m a native Floridian and many thing I learned in this class I didn’t know,” said Kim Medley. “Talking about how sites were burned to keep the British from being able to use them and to set up fortresses, Flagler Beach the giant sloths and mastodon that used to be found. It’s amazing and there’s so much here in our own county and if we don’t start finding out about it and circle the wagons to protect it, it’s going to be gone.”
Dressed in period finery, Medley, whose focus is on women’s suffrage, is among an expansive group of educational reenactors across Florida dedicated the research, documentation and presentation of important milestones in Florida history.
“I took it because I wanted to hear all of this and I also wanted to see if I could find other avenues for the research I am still doing,” she said. “There is a hunger for history. People want to hear what happened. Not theories. They want to know what happened on this site.”
Leading the development of the history-based classes, Palm Coast Historical Society’s immediate past president Elaine Studnicki worked closely with Flagler County Historical Society’s president Ed Siarkowicz throughout 2022 to create the curriculum.
Both offered their take on the first session.
“This first history academy illustrated how important history is to our community, and how much people want to hear it and experience it,” said Studnicki, who also serves as the City of Palm Coast’s co-historian. “We want to give them even more history in the future.”
Popular, the next session has a wait list of interested students and PCHS member Pasty Moden hopes they will be able to expand the opportunities for those interested, to attend.
“The demand out there is great,” said Siarkowicz, who has been sharing the academy’s format with other historians around the region. “As far as the local history and what’s out there, this really has just scratched the surface.”
“I think the Palm Coast Historical Society did a fantastic job with this,” said historian James Fiske. “I’m glad the Flagler County Historical Society was part of it as well. All for one and one for all.”
The Flagler County History Academy is offered as a program in addition to the Palm Coast Historical Society’s Speaker Series.
Taking the helm of the Palm Coast Historical Society, Kathy Reichard-Ellavsky says they’re only getting started.
“It’s connecting all the dots and pulling the threads. I love to learn more. There’s layers and I would like to uncover and examine them, and I think that’s what makes it interesting.”