Courtesy of veniceareahistoricalsociety.org
The Venice Area Historical Society (VAHS) was founded in 1991 as the Venice Historic Preservation League, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in order to celebrate and preserve the history of Venice, Florida, and surrounding areas. The service area of the Society is South Sarasota County, Florida, including Venice, South Venice, Nokomis, Laurel, and Osprey. VAHS’s mission is to promote public awareness and understanding of the historic heritage of Florida, Sarasota County, and the Venice area, within the context of our nation’s history, and to encourage inquiry and research into this history. The Society sponsors a wide variety of educational programs and initiatives focusing on local and state history—a lecture series, a newsletter, outreach to schools and other local organizations, tours of the Historic Venice Train Depot and the Circus Museum in Venice, a historic plaque program, scholarships for graduating high school seniors, and research into area history. The Historic Venice Train Depot, built in 1927 and renovated in 2002-2003, was central to the founding and development of Venice, Florida. Volunteer docents from VAHS provide free public tours of the Depot, the Circus Museum, and the surrounding campus. Panel displays and artifacts in the Depot’s two waiting rooms illustrate key events in Venice’s history and the history of the Depot itself. Exhibits in the Circus Museum portray Venice’s circus history and circus legacy.