For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- The board of directors of the Elliott Museum in Stuart, which opened on Sunday, March 3, announced a $10 million dollar donation from the Elliott R. Donnelley family, at an event for supporters celebrating the re-opening of the museum.
"This gift is a significant investment in the future of not only our museum, but the entire region," said Scott Baratta, capital campaign chairman. "The early commitment by the Donnelley family inspired our volunteer leadership and propelled our ability to bring this project to fruition."
Citing synergy and a singular vision rarely exemplified in philanthropic and public partnerships, the "significant investment of time and effort and forethought brought by the Donnelley family to this project is visionary."
The Donnelley family commitment helped attract local and state representatives to champion the efforts of the Elliott Museum's board of directors in their vision for a new cultural resource. The gift is the largest in the history of the 53-year-old institution, and is among the area's topmost donations in recent years.
The Donnelley gift, in addition to being the cornerstone of the Capital Campaign, included resources to build the museum's permanent Wheels of Change exhibit, as well as a gift of 55 Model A Ford vehicles that will be highlighted in the exhibit as well as on the floor of the adjacent Stuart Main Street Gallery.
"Mr. Donnelley is passionate about the Model A, and he loved the story these vehicles told about American progress -- invention, commerce, mobility and, of course, fun," said Jennifer Esler, president and CEO of the Elliott Museum.
Elliott R. Donnelley, the great-grandson of the founder of R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company, became passionate about the Ford Model A, the car in which he learned to drive. His belief that the Model A could show American ingenuity at its best inspired him to collect more than 50 different vehicles, beginning in 1968.
"We are excited to play a role in the new Elliott Museum and help prepare this 53-year-old community resource for the future," said Shawn M. Donnelley, daughter of Mr. Donnelley. "My father spent a lifetime building this collection. He wished to preserve his vehicles so that future generations might learn their stories. Martin County and the Elliott Museum is the perfect place for his collection and our gift."
The new Elliott Museum opened its doors to the public on March 3. Located on Hutchinson Island, features a 3,000-square-foot Changing Exhibition Gallery that allows the museum to host prominent travelling exhibits; five dedicated permanent collection gallery spaces; an expanded art and teaching studio; the Kiplinger Galleries of Regional and Local History including a Community History Lab, scheduled to open in October; Thurlow Library and Archives, and the Frances Langford Outrigger Café.
The first exhibit in the Changing Exhibition Gallery will be Leonardo da Vinci Machines in Motion - a dramatic hands-on display of 40 full-size machine replicas made directly from Leonardo's innovative designs and drawings.
"The partnership with the Donnelley family represents the best of the community truly coming together," said Walter Woods, new Elliott Museum chairman of the board of directors. "This is a tremendous moment for the Treasure Coast," Walter Woods told the crowd. "The rebuilding of the Elliott Museum represents the combined will, efforts, hopes and dreams of hundreds of us who care about the future of our region. We need to continue to stay committed to this new cultural resource."