Historical Society announces new director, officers

October 1, 2021
By Staff Report

Submitted by the Boca Grande History Center

The Boca Grande Historical Society is making changes to its staff and officers. As of October 1, the Society welcomes Crystal Diff as its new executive director. Kim Kyle, who has served the organization for 19 years, will become administrative director working with Crystal on all aspects of the Society’s operations.

Recently the board elected new officers: Pamela Heilman, president; James Blaha, Nancy Lyons and Whitney Ransome, vice presidents; Treasurer Martin McFadden; and Secretary Henry Elwood.

Crystal comes to the Society with strong knowledge of Florida state, regional and local history and significant experience in developing programs for sharing this history with many audiences. 

Most recently, she was program coordinator with Charlotte County History Services where she developed programs, events, tours, exhibits and outreach for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. She assisted in the development of the Museum Studies program at Florida Gulf Coast Universityw and was lead registrar for the Charlotte County Historical Center, managing the Center’s archival activities. Crystal has been a consultant to the Boca Grande History Center’s archives for the last four years. She also created successful volunteer programs in each of her positions.

Crystal said she will spend her first weeks learning the “inner workings” of the organization, immersing herself in the present as well as the history of the community, acquainting herself with the many organizations on the Island and assessing the Society’s programs and opportunities for the future. 

Crystal said she expects that she, the Society board, Kim and the History Center’s volunteers will form an excellent team because they know each other well as a result of Crystal’s past consulting work for the Center. She also said she is looking forward to meeting the Society’s members at the various events planned for the 2021-22 season, and invites everyone to come to the History Center to meet her. 

Society President Pamela Heilman expresses confidence that this transition will expand the organization’s capabilities and that “the Society and the History Center will continue to preserve the voices of the Island’s ‘pioneer’ families, showcase the rich history of Boca Grande, and highlight its people, places and personalities for generations to come. 

As always, both the Boca Grande community and audiences beyond will benefit.

To learn more about the history of Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island, visit the History Center website,bocagrandhistoricalsociety.com, like them on Facebook, visit the History Center at 170 Park Ave. or call 964-1600. 

The History Center welcomes input from all. Please send comments or questions to bocagrandehistoricalsociety@gmail.com. 

This History Center Archives also invites the community to lend photographs, documents or other materials which it will scan and return to the lender.