Gulf Coast Heritage Association Inc aka Historic Spanish Point
PO Box 846
337 N. Tamiami Trail
Osprey FL 34229-0846
The Historic Guptill House

The Association's mission is to connect people of today with 5,000 years of human history in southwest coastal Florida by preserving and interpreting objects and traditions significant to our region's past.  The Association owns and operates Historic Spanish Point, which opened to the public in 1982. It features prehistoric shell middens dating back to 3000 B.C., a restored pioneer homestead from the 1880s, and the formal gardens of Mrs. Potter Palmer.  A natural environment featuring over 200 species of native plants and a beautiful butterfly garden are also featured at the 30-acre site. Historic Spanish Point is one of the finest historic site museums in the country and is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

The Association supports several major commitments:

·        Preserving Historic Spanish Point, a 30-acre site listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This site includes evidence of human experience spanning 5,000 years; while each period is significant, it is the sum total of human activity on one piece of land that makes this site unique.

·        Preserving the history and prehistory of southwest coastal Florida and communicating them in accurate and entertaining ways.

·        Contributing to the community’s sense of place by providing a historical context for those qualities that have attracted people to this region for thousands of years.

·        Maintaining a responsible environmental ethic, fostering the preservation and use of native plants, and communicating the importance of the natural habitat to the community and its quality of life.

·        Encouraging, by example, the preservation of historic buildings, landscapes, and archeological sites.

·        Preserving and teaching the skills and crafts used in this region in the past.

·        Inviting people of all ages to experience the serene beauty of Historic Spanish Point.



CEO/Executive Director Mr. John D. Mason
Board Chair Mr. David G. Bowman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bowman George Scheb Kimbrough & Koach
History and Background
Organization DBA
Historic Spanish Point
Gulf Coast Heritage Association
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Awarded a competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
Incorporation Year 1975
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $750,300.00
Projected Expenses $750,300.00
Additional Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
State Info
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Exempt 0
State Registration 0
Historic Spanish Point's major accomplishments for 2014 include programs and services for visitors of all ages.  The museum was open daily, providing educational and entertaining experiences for over 24,000 people, including over 3,600 school children.   Highlights include a successful summer camp for nearly 1,000 children, late summer concerts on the White Cottage Lawn, fall "ghost" tours and outdoor movies, and the Holiday Lights with evening openings a special event held during November and December.
Major accomplishments during the year included: rehabilitation of Cock's Footbridge, repaving existing shell pathways with architectural sand to improve accessibility to the site, construction of kayak racks to provide additional amenities to visitors, and the dedication of our latest attraction, Window to the Bay, which interprets how our pre-historic residents used plants in their daily lives and diets.
Goals for 2014 include new strategic planning and board development so that Historic Spanish Point successfully builds on its past accomplishments.  With federal funding, the museum's professional staff will continue to developcreative educational programming, to better connect seniors with the treasures preserved and intepreted at Historic Spanish Point.

Historic Spanish Point traces its history to 1973, when the Junior League of Sarasota conducted a study of cultural organizations serving the community and identified the need for a history and natural science museum in Sarasota County. Members of the Junior League and other community leaders organized the Sarasota County Historical and Natural Science Center in 1974, which became Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc. (GCHA), in 1980. 

One property identified for the museum was the “Osprey Archaeological and Historic Site,” which in 1975 became the first nomination from Sarasota County listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The site features two shell middens and a burial mound of a prehistoric Indian village (3,000 BC – 1,000 AD), buildings and a small cemetery from the Webb Family homestead called Spanish Point (1867-1910), and gardens from the early 20thCentury estate of Mrs. Potter Palmer, a wealthy widow from Chicago. Palmer’s heirs donated the site to GCHA on December 31, 1980.  Known today as Historic Spanish Point, the museum opened to the public on April 9, 1982. 

In 1983, GCHA hired its first museum director and began documenting its collections and developing programs for visitors. During the next 25 years, over $4 million was spent on historic restorations and exhibits to interpret our community’s history.  In 1996, GCHA acquired use of the Osprey School, a six-room school built in 1927 and also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Adjacent to Historic Spanish Point on U.S. 41, the building was renovated to house an orientation theater/lecture hall, meeting room, offices, museum store, and since 2011, a connections branch of the county library system.  Another significant accomplishment was museum accreditation, awarded by the American Association of Museums in 2002.  This designation places the museum in the top 5% of all institutions nationwide and among only 4 such in Sarasota County.

Today a motivated professional staff and over 200 trained volunteers provide the museum’s services to the public. Historic Spanish Point is open to the public daily (closed Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day), serving an average of 28,000 visitors annually. Key programs include guided tours, living history interpreters, and curriculum-based field trips for third and fourth grade children. It is noteworthy that over 90,000 children have been educated through field trip experiences at Historic Spanish Point. Outreach activities include a speakers bureau, small traveling exhibits, and the museum’s website,


Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc., needs financial support from the community for essential work in the areas of historic preservation, environmental preservation, and program services.  The top five most pressing needs are:
1.   $50,000 to cover repair of critically deferred items e.g., associated with preserving the historic fabric of the museum. HVAC in the 1901 Guptill House and termite remediation in the 1927 Osprey School House. 
2.   $30,000 for the renovation of our centerpiece archaeological exhibit Window to the Past.  The exhibit's audiovisual and lighting systems have exceeded their economic lives and the exhibit needs to be updated.
3.   $30,000 for conservation and management of museum's collection of 18,000 historical objects.
4.   $15,000 to complete the funding necessary to lay new blacktop over the museum's existing and seriously deteriorated soil concrete roads.
5. $30,000 to fund the first year's salary and benefits for an experienced Director of Development.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Historic Spanish Point is one of the finest historic site museums in Florida.  The institution is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, joining the top 5% of museums in the nation to have this designation.  The museum is commited to providing quality educational experiences to visitors of all ages.  Donors to Historic Spanish Point understand that the care of historic buildings and gardens is an on-going process that requires financial support. 
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Historic Spanish Point is an irreplacable treasure to this community.
Areas Served
Areas Served
Throughout the United States
FL- Sarasota
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Environment
Description Historic Spanish Point features a wide variety of educational programs. Guided tours are offered daily, special programs are offered throughout the year including classes, speakers, and special demonstrations. Programs are designed for all ages and interests. The museum is open daily.
Budget $100,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Families US
Short Term Success
Visitor surveys and evaluations continually document that people completely trust the information they learn at Historic Spanish Point, that their museum experience was an excellent value in terms of their time, effort, and cost, and that Historic Spanish Point provides great opportunities to have memorable shared experiences with family and friends
Long Term Success Historic Spanish Point celebrated its silver anniversary in 2007, and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012.
How Program is Monitored
Visitor surveys and evaluations are combined with member surveys to analyse program success.  Membership has grown by 5% in 2013, despite continuing economic challenges in our community.
Examples of Program Success
Historic Spanish Point has maintained its accreditation status with the American Alliance of Museums, which measures excellence in museum operations and services to communities.
Description Historic Spanish Point has provided our Adventures in Learning curriculum to over 90,000 school children over the past 28 years. The Pioneer Lifeways program is designed for fourth grade students and features a curriculum booklet for each student for interdisciplinary classroom preparation prior to an experienced-filled field trip to our 30 acre outdoor museum. The 3-hour museum visit includes docent-guided tour, interaction with historic characters, and a hands-on activity.
Budget $10,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short Term Success
Since 1984, the museum's Adventures in Learning school programs have reached over 90,000 children.  These educational field trips are developed in partnership with educators and meet stated curriculum standards.  Teachers provide important evaluations every year.
Long Term Success
The Pioneer Program is the museum's signature educational offering for school children.  It has its roots in a Traveling Suitcase Program created by the Junior League of Sarasota in the 1970s and found a home at Historic Spanish Point in 1984.  Fourth grade children from Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, DeSoto, and Charlotte Counties are invited to participate each year.
How Program is Monitored
The first basic tool of measurement is bookings every year by teachers.  In today's economy, teachers have to be very selective about field trip experiences for their students.  Teachers not only continue to schedule this field trip, but also provide feedback about the program.  Museum staff makes changes as indicated by these evaluations.
Examples of Program Success
The students send letters to the museum, thanking their docents and sharing with us part of what they learned while at Historic Spanish Point.
Description Historic Spanish Point continues its tradition of historical interpretation for the public. Our volunteer performers work tirelessly to bring the rich cultural history of our museum to life. Each year during the holiday and spring season visitors encounter historical figures who interact with the tours and answer all those pressing questions about what life was like in their time. Additionally, costumed interpreters are sent out by request to community organizations for presentations.
Budget $6,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified Families
Short Term Success
National surveys have reported that visitors to historic sites learn more when they have the opportunity to interact at various levels with the museum.  Drama and first person interpreters are extremely effective ways of conveying historical information.  Noted institutions such as Colonial Williamsburg, Sturbridge Village, and Plymoth Plantation use this interpretve method.
Long Term Success
Interpreters program began in 1988 and is extremely popular with visitors of all ages.
How Program is Monitored
Visitors to Historic Spanish Point throughout the year fill out surveys that evaluate their experiences.  . 
Examples of Program Success Based on the analysis of 300 comprehensive visitor surveys that represented seasonal visitor types, the report noted that people completely trust the information they learn at Historic Spanish Point, that their museum experience was an excellent value in terms of their time, effort, and cost, and that Historic Spanish Point provides great opportunities to have memorable shared experiences with family and friends.  A third of those suveyed experienced our historical interpreter progam and ranked it very high as an element that contributed positively to their museum visit.
Description The Prehistoric People program is designed for third grade students and features a curriculum booklet for each student for interdisciplinary classroom preparation prior to an experience-filled field trip to our 30-acre museum. The 3-hour museum visit includes a docent-guided tour and hands-on activities in our outdoor archaeology dig site classroom.
Budget $15,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Archaeology
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success
Students learn about the earliest Floridians and their lifestyle.
Long Term Success
Since 1984, over 90,000 school children have participated in curriculum-based field trip experiences at Historic Spanish Point.  This program was developed 12 years ago. 
How Program is Monitored
Teacher and docent assessments are used to adjust/improve program components.
Examples of Program Success
Teachers continue to request this field trip experience year after year.
With significant grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Historic Spanish Point is creating new on-site and outreach programming designed to serve seniors as well as others with special needs.  We have implemented contiuous-loop tram services, provide listening devices, and are working on additional access initiatives, including specialized tram tours and large print brochures.  Outreach programming has continued to increase since the summer  of 2013 and takes Historic Spanish Point to Independent and Assisted Living facilities, community organizations, and special needs groups.
Budget $200,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Elderly and/or Disabled People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities
Short Term Success The anticipated short term result will be an increase in museum attendance (10% in year one) and an 50% expansion of outreach programming.
Long Term Success
The program's goal is to remove barriers, real or perceived, for people visiting or learning about Historic Spanish Point.  The long range goal is that museum attendance will increase and earned income and contributions will fund the program's staff and related costs. 
How Program is Monitored
Historic Spanish Point will evaluate program success through visitors surveys, attendance records, and analysis conducted by the program staff and community advisory committee.
Examples of Program Success
This program began in October, 2012 and is in the implementation stage. 
Description Historic Spanish Point offers the opportunity to see and explore our history without having to travel to our outdoor site. Off site outreach programs include historical overviews, costumed interpretation, hands on exploration, and customized programs to meet the needs of a group or organization
Budget $12,000
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Short Term Success The short term goal of this programs is to reach additional audiences who would otherwise not be exposed to Historic Spanish Point.
Long Term Success The program's long term goal is to increase awareness of and visitation to the museum. Also, serve as a valuable resource for learning about different eras of Florida history and native plant life.
How Program is Monitored Measurement tool include quantitative and qualitative data through one on one survey, attendance counts, and staff review of program success.
Examples of Program Success  Examples of program success included increased programs offered in the community by 60% in the last quarter. Survey results signify the program is appreciated and participants are becoming members and visitors to the museum.
Program Comments by Organization
With the completion of the new entrance landscaping and signage project, the Board and Staff of Historic Spanish Point are focusing energies on our core mission, committments, and stategic plan goals so that every resident and visitor may have the opportunity to visit, enjoy, and learn.  A highlight in 2013 was Historic Spanish Point's celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon, in partnership with the statewide Viva Florida 500 program.
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. John D. Mason
CEO Term Start Apr 2013
Executive Director John D. Mason has over 30 years of corporate experience in a variety of industries including: non-profit organizations, the U.S. Government, transportation, consumer products, information services, arts and entertainment. Before joining Historic Spanish Point in 2013, he had over 25 years of experience in consulting to the no-profit sector.  Earlier, he directed international financial operations for the Motion Picture Association of America as Vice President, Finance. As Manager of Corporate Planning for The Dun and Bradstreet Corporation, John directed the annual corporate planning process and supported acquisitions activities. He began his corporate career at Consolidated Rail Corporation as Manager of Corporate Planning. Before attending business school, John served as a program officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities. John holds a BA from Amherst College, an MA from Claremont Graduate University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Full Time Staff 8
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 200
Contractors 1
Staff Retention Rate % 87
Professional Development Yes
Management Reports to Board Yes
Organization Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted May 2010
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures No
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Former CEOs
Linda Mansperger 1986 - Feb 2013
Senior Staff
Ms Kara Pallin Program Director
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Historic Spanish Point partners with Sarasota County with the Osprey Public Library located in its Visitors Center, provides free meeting space for the Friends of the Osprey Library, and the Executive Director serves on the board of the Friends organization.  The museum collaborates with Gulf Coast Conservation Foundation in Osprey to market both properties in a joint site rental program as well as on other programs of mutual interest.  Historic Spanish Point hosts the quarterly meetings of the county-wide Historic Preservation Coalition. Historic Spanish Point hosts periodic meetings of the Sarasota County Science and Environmental Council and a staff member serves on its board.
American Association of State and Local History2008
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2013
Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County
Florida Association of Museums
Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County
External Assessments and Accreditations
American Association of Museums - 10 Year Accreditation2002
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. David G. Bowman
Company Affiliation Bowman George Scheb Kimbrough & Koach
Board Term Apr 2014 to Apr 2015
Board Members
Board Members
Mr Daniel Pat Ball Ball Construction
Mrs. JoEllen DeMarco Community Volunteer
Ms. Darla A Furst Michael Sauners & Company
Ms Mary Evelyn Guyton Michael Saunders
Rep. Douglas Holder Florida State House of Representatives
Mr. Paul G. Hudson U. S. Trust
Mr. Gregory LeBar SunTrust
Mr Jay McHargue Merrill Lynch
Mr. John Mercurio John J. Mercurio CPA LLC
Mr. George Mims Community Volunteer
Mr. Ryan P Murphy Sarasota County
Mrs. Laura Peters Community Volunteer
Mr. Todd Stainbrook CIA Access
Mrs. Margarete van Antwerpen Community Volunteer
Ms. Judy Veale Community Volunteer
Mr. Robert R. Wilberding Community Volunteer
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 11
Female 6
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Board Meeting Attendance % 63
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Governance Comments by Organization
Every board member financially supports Historic Spanish Point, attends museum events and programs, and participates on at least one committee.
Financial Info
Fiscal Year 2013
Projected Revenue $750,300.00
Projected Expenses $750,300.00
Endowment Value $41,000.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Spending Policy % 5.5
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$104,187$55,231$0
Individual Contributions$210,659$164,633$303,908
Investment Income, Net of Losses$42$192$95
Membership Dues$115,759$121,789$121,765
Special Events$57,537$96,935$58,482
Revenue In-Kind$44,532--$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$603,917$529,285$542,698
Administration Expense$97,315$91,278$94,864
Fundraising Expense$46,103$42,685$41,302
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.001.001.14
Program Expense/Total Expenses81%80%80%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue12%13%9%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$3,404,400$3,396,693$3,405,260
Current Assets$173,470$169,667$281,036
Long-Term Liabilities$33,904$31,373$32,681
Current Liabilities$36,000$27,582$33,460
Total Net Assets$3,334,496$3,337,738$3,339,119
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $210,659Contributions, gifts, grants $164,633Individuals, Foundations & Corporations $303,908
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAdmissions $137,899Admissions $122,506Earned Revenue $196,685
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $115,759Membership Dues $121,789Membership $121,765
CEO Compensation
Co-CEO Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.826.158.40
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%1%1%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Historic Spanish Point manages to keep expenses in line with revenues.  We need to build reserves, fund depreciation, and eliminate deferred maintence.
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures provided based on IRS Form 990 and audit documents. 2010 - 2012 Form 990s and audits reconcile. 2009 audit document not provided. Individual contributions include foundation/ corporate support, as reported on Form 990.
Nonprofit Gulf Coast Heritage Association Inc aka Historic Spanish Point
Address PO Box 846
337 N. Tamiami Trail
Osprey, FL 342290846
Primary Phone 941 966-5214
CEO/Executive Director Mr. John D. Mason
Board Chair Mr. David G. Bowman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bowman George Scheb Kimbrough & Koach
Year of Incorporation 1975

Related Information

EdExploreSRQ is a web-based search platform that is transforming the way Sarasota County teachers, principals and parents identify and learn about experiential learning opportunities available in our area. Featuring hundreds of offerings by local nonprofits and individual teaching artists, each EdExploreSRQ "exploration" is reviewed and approved by school district staff to ensure connections to educational standards.