PHOTO COURTESY ENTERPRISE PRESERVATION SOCIETY HISTORY AWAITS — The Enterprise Heritage Center and Museum, at 360 Main St. in Enterprise, collects and showcases the history of Enterprise and neighboring cities.

The statewide nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Florida Humanities, has awarded the Enterprise Heritage Center and Museum a $4,500 grant to support general operating costs, the Enterprise Preservation Society Inc. (EPS) announced recently.

Like many small museums and nonprofits, the Enterprise Museum was hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this grant will help it to stay open and on its feet while the museum strives to recover from the devastating effects of the global pandemic.

Enterprise Museum, as well as EPS, is an all-volunteer nonprofit whose goal is to preserve visual artifacts and educate the citizens of the area on the rich history of the St. Johns River and the role Enterprise played in that history.

The museum’s North Classroom is dedicated solely to the area’s history, and the South Classroom hosts artists’ exhibits as well as talks by experts in local history, wildlife and scenic treasures.

The donated funds will assist museum volunteers in getting and staying back on their feet and continuing to serve as an educational and socializing focal point for not only Enterprise, but also for the surrounding towns and cities of Osteen, DeBary and Deltona.

Additionally, the museum hosts several events throughout the year, most recently in February hosting its big event — the 15th annual Enterprise Chili Cook-Off, featuring the popular Irish band The Brayzen Heads.

“Prior to COVID we were going full-steam ahead, with speakers and artists scheduled to the museum every month as well as waiting lists for both. We were featured on Channel 35’s Good Morning Orlando twice,” Museum Director Cindy Sullivan said in a news release. “Once the pandemic hit in early 2020, we tried to stay open, but people were afraid, and rightfully so. We slowly began to open back up in 2021 when the vaccine came out. People were excited to come back and we were happy to see them. It didn’t last long, as first the delta variant hit us and then omicron.”

The lack of in-person guests caused by the pandemic’s resurgence had a huge negative impact on the museum, Sullivan said, and the lack of guests forced the volunteer staff to find new and clever ways of gaining the necessary funding to continue to operate the museum.

Finally, things are beginning to return to normalcy again, Sullivan added, but without the help of organizations like Florida Humanities it would have been tough.

“They had a huge positive impact on us and our museum, and we’re very thankful!” she said.

The Enterprise Museum is at 360 Main St. and is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Private tours are available. To schedule, stop by or call the museum at 386-259-5900 or Sullivan at 386-804-6987.

Admittance to the museum is free, but tax-deductible donations are welcomed and appreciated.

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