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Annual Women’s History Month Breakfast honors trailblazing architects

History Center highlights Ryan & Roberts, who defied obstacles in 1920s

On March 9, the Orange County Regional History Center presents its fourth annual Women’s History Month Celebration with a breakfast honoring architects Ida Annah Ryan and Isabel Roberts, who overcame obstacles to create notable Central Florida buildings in the 1920s.

“These were truly accomplished women,” said Pam Schwartz, the History Center’s executive director. “Ryan was the first woman in the nation to earn a master’s degree in architecture, and Roberts trained at the right hand of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In Orlando, they joined forces and made history at a time when women architects were both rare and not often given due credit.”

The breakfast program will feature the 2022 documentary “Pavilion on the Water,” about Ryan and Roberts’ design for the 1924 Lake Eola Park bandstand that became an Orlando icon for decades. Produced by the Grace Arts Center with support from a Florida Historical Resources Board grant and from the Orlando Foundation for Architecture (OFA), the film features Central Florida historians and architects. A panel discussion will follow the screening.

Presented in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Orange County and OFA, the 2023 breakfast continues a series of Women’s History Month Celebrations that have honored educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune, crusading journalist Mabel Norris Reese, and artist Mary Ann Carroll, who broke barriers as the sole woman among the legendary Florida Highwaymen.

Proceeds from the event will help support the programs of the History Center, especially its HERstory: Women in History Internship in honor of Jeanne Edge Evans and Bickley Wilson. “These internships enable us to deepen our research and understanding of the significant and often overlooked roles women have played in our history, while also providing paid professional development opportunities for diverse applicants,” says Schwartz.

Doors open at 8 a.m. with a breakfast buffet, coffee, and conversation, followed by the film and discussion program at 9 a.m. Tickets are $35. Parking for History Center visitors is available at the Library Garage at 112 E. Central Blvd.

For more information and to register, please visit this event page.