Mimi Hardman Collections and Research Center


The LaMira Pioneer 020ke Wales History Museum is currently raising funds to create the new Mimi Hardman Collections and Research Center. This project will transition the museum’s collection into permanent storage and rehabilitate the historic 1916 Seaboard Airline Freight Station.  Dedicated to the museum’s founder, Mimi Hardman, this new center will allow for the growth and proper care of the museum’s 44-year-old collection, future research and public access to the more than 25,000 items of Lake Wales’ historical items dating back to the 1850s.

Mimi Hardman dedicated her life to the preservation of Lake Wales history and heritage.  As the founder of the history museum and champion for historic preservation throughout Florida, Mimi is the reason we now have an unparalleled collection of Lake Wales and Polk County materials in our collection, four historic buildings, three train cars, and five historic districts. Items in the collection date back to 1852, when the original government survey of Lake Wales was completed.


We are the stewards of Lake Wales’ historic buildings and stories.

20190330_141122One of the first buildings in Lake Wales, the 1916 Seaboard Airline Freight Station will be rehabilitated and named in honor of Mimi Hardman, the museum’s late founder.  Exterior siding will be replaced, and a new deck will be installed with TREK composite decking to ADA standards.  A new HVAC system, landscaping, painting, and lighting will complete the exterior restoration.  Cost: $74,000


We are here to preserve Lake Wales memories.

Bart QuiltRolling Storage ShelvesThe 20,000-item museum collection will find a permanent home inside the 1916 Seaboard Airline Freight Station, where professionals will collect, inventory and properly store photographs, documents, maps, small objects, artwork, and textiles.  A museum quality storage solutions system will be installed to house our collections on mechanical-assist mobile shelving, which will maximize archival-safe storage for the collections.  Custom shelving will be installed to store and access artwork, quilts, military uniforms and other textiles.  Cost: $43,000


We capture Lake Wales history and celebrate it.

Student BannerOutdoor SignageThe public will be invited to access our collections for personal and professional research, and an exterior interpretive display will tell the story of the building.  A dedicated space inside the center will provide people, visitors and scholars a place to research books, maps and documents, conduct family genealogy, and with professional supervision, access our photo archive.   Other spaces will provide museum educational interns and volunteers areas to secure and catalog newly acquired collections materials.  Finally, exterior interpretive display panels will tell the story of the 1916 Seaboard Airline Freight Station and its importance to commerce and industry to Lake Wales.  Cost: $8,000


Mail a check to 325 S Scenic Highway, Lake Wales, Florida 33853

Stop by the museum where we can take cash, check or credit cards.

Go online to https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/mimi-hardman-collections-and-research-center .