Romance at the House of Refuge

Historic Wedding Gown Exhibit

May 1, through June 30, 2019 enjoy the most romantic spot in Martin County. The House of Refuge Museum will exhibit five vintage wedding gowns from the permanent collection of the Historical Society of Martin County. On display is the gown of local pioneer Sarah Josephine Kitching, who married John Taylor March 10, 1914 on their mutual birthday. They honeymooned at the House of Refuge which was celebrating a birthday of its own. Opening March 10, 1876 the House of Refuge had been in service 37 years on the day they were wed. The dress has been worn by six women from four generations.

Open House & Tea With the Besseys

July 20, 2019  10:00am-3:00pm FREE

August 17, 2019  10:00am-3:00pm FREE

September 21, 2019 10:00am-4:00pm FREE

Step back in time with Bruce and Barbara Osborn as they portray Hubert and Susan Bessey, Keepers of the House of Refuge 1890-1901.

Mrs. Bessey will be serving iced tea and lemonade on the porch and sharing the family photos album, as Mr. Bessey tells tall tails of living at the House of Refuge when Hutchinson Island was a wilderness, packed with bears and wild animals.

Brush Stroke in Time

On Exhibit in the Keeper’s Quarters – Paintings by Curt Whiticar

Enjoy paintings by local pioneer Curt Whiticar (1911-2017).  Whiticar’s paintings depict historical events in early Martin County.  Coupled with vintage photographs and verbiage, the exhibit tells the story of the area’s colorful and interesting history.

2020 House of Refuge Lecture Series


Tuesday, January 14, 10:00 am      Wednesday, January 15, 7:00 pm

Tuesday, February 11, 10:00 am     Wednesday, February 12, 7:00 pm

Tuesday, March 10, 10:00 am         Wednesday, March 11, 7:00 pm

Tuesday, March 8, 10:00 am           Wednesday, March 9, 7:00 pm