The Destin History & Fishing Museum made Founder’s Day even more special unveiling a memorial bench dedicated to their founder and first executive director, the late Jean Melvin.
Melvin, who moved to Destin in 1973, was the first Destin Fishing Rodeo secretary in 1975 and in 1985 founded the first Fishing Museum with a group of charter boat wives. She ran the museum until it closed in 1995.
“Ten years later, Jean helped create our current museum with a new identity … naming it the Destin History & Fishing Museum.” said Kathy Marler Blue, the museum’s executive director.
Melvin continued to serve as an executive director until her retirement in 2015. Melvin passed away on Nov. 12, 2016.
“On this Founder’s day, it is fitting to honor Jean for all she has done to establish this great repository and exhibition for the history and culture of the very unique and special city of Destin.” said the museum’s treasurer, John Lefler, on the day of the ribbon-cutting for Melvin’s dedication bench.
Blue said if it wasn’t for Melvin, many artifacts, photographs and stories would of been lost or scattered all over Destin rather than in one place.
“It took about a year and a half to get the museum ready and it officially opened on Oct. 1, 2005.” she said.
The museum will continue to carry on Melvin's legacy through upgrades, growth and setting new attendance records.
“Jean was an inspiration and essential in getting the museum going. It’s an asset to have (the museum) in our city,” said Terry Long, the museum’s secretary.