Florida Network members participated in a May 18-21, 2010 Thematic Tour Development and Collections Care and Management Conference in Tallahassee, Florida. Keynote presenters and facilitators were: Larry Paarlberg, Executive Director, Director of General Lew Wallace Study & Museum-Kirklin, Indiana; Dr. Deborah Mack-Independent Museum and Cultural Organizations Consultant; John Franklin, Director of International Programs and Partnerships, The National African American Museum on the Mall-Washington DC.
Participating museums were:
- Clifton Lewis, Director, L.B. Brown House Museum – Bartow, FL
- Scot Shivey, Board Member, Blanchard House Museum – Punta Gorda, FL
- Jami Thomas, JD Thomas Cultural Complex - Sanford, FL
- Sherry Dupree, Rosewood Foundation – Gainesville, FL
- Jucoby Pittman-Peele, Director, Clara and Eartha White Mission and Museum – Jacksonville, FL
- Derek Davis, Director, Old Dillard School Museum – Ft Lauderdale, FL
- Tim Barber, Director, Black Archive and Research Center – Miami, Florida
- Dr. Murell Dawson, Director/Curator, Eaton-Meek FAMU Black Archive and Museum – Tallahassee, FL
- Jacquelyn Meadows, Rhoda L. Martin Cultural Heritage Center – Jacksonville Beach, FL
The network held its annual meeting on May 17, 2010 at the Doubletree Hotel. Members updated on their activities and discussion was held on future initiatives to begin marketing/promoting sites and heritage destinations, including a specialized network tour program.
August 1, 2008 Exhibit Opening-Milestone Memories This exhibit of artifacts, images and literature will fascinate anyone who sees it. It tells the story of early African American schools and the role of education in early America throughout time until the 60′s and the integration of schools. The exhibit is traveling during 2009 – 2010 to Pinellas African American Museum in Clearwater, Florida; Spady African American Museum in Delray, Beach, Florida and to the Blanchard House African American Museum in Punta Gorda, Florida.
African American Network Museums are participating in an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Collections Care and Management project: Eartha and Clara White Mission and Museum in Jacksonville, Florida; Spady Museum in Delray Beach, Florida, Pinellas African American Museum in Clearwater, Florida; L.B. Brown House Museum in Bartow, Florida; Black Heritage Museum in New Smyrna Beach, Florida; Riley Museum, J.D. Thomas Cultural Center in Sanford, Florida and Blanchard House Museum in Punta Gorda, Florida. The Florida Network has been heralded by IMLS, AAAM and the Smithsonian as a model project.
Network Museums presented 2010 annual heritage festivals including: Black Heritage Museum Festival – New Smyrna Beach; Pinellas African American Museum and Festival – Largo, Florida; L.B. Brown House Museum Black History Month Festival – Bartow, Florida; Harry and Harriette Moore Cultural Center in Titusville, Florida Festival; Blanchard House Museum Heritage Festival, Renaissance Park-Mariana, Florida Fall Tradition Bearers Festival; Zora Neal Hurston Festival – Eatonville, Florida.
On October 24, 2008 was the Unveiling of Riley Animatronic, a life size model of John Gilmore Riley at the Riley House (visit www.rileymuseum.org).
In 2006 and 2008, the Florida Legislature provided matching funds for an IMLS grant to support network activities. The IMLS Grant would have been impossible without the help of an appropriation from the Legislature. Key legislators supporting and advancing the appropriation included: Senior Senator Alfred Lawson of Tallahassee, Florida; Representatives Curtis Richardson and Lorraine Ausley-Tallahassee, Florida; Representative Don Davis-Jacksonville, Florida (later deceased); Representative Ed Jennings-Gainesville, Florida; Senator Tony Hill-Jacksonville, Florida; Representative Marti Coley-Marianna, Florida; Representative Joyce Cusack; Representative Bullard of Miami, Florida. The funds were used to help provide cultural organizations and museums in African American communities across the state with technology and communication improvements and to help Directors preserve valuable collections of significance to Florida’s African American History & Culture
SEPTEMBER 2006 and 2008, THE RILEY HOUSE MUSEUM WAS AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS GRANTS FROM THE INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY (IMLS)
The John Gilmore Riley Center received an inaugural year IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services ) grant on September 20, 2006 to coordinate the “Florida African-American Museum Exchange” (FAMME) project, an initiative designed to build the institutional capacity and sustainability of African-American Museums throughout the State of Florida. Ten Museum Directors , strategically selected to represent the geographic Regions within the State of Florida, was the core target participants. Funding supported a series of intensive training sessions on topics including museum management, strategic planning, , revenue building, preservation, and exhibit presentations. Following the training, the ten Directors identified and mentored Directors of other African-American Museums in their areas, sharing new skills and knowledge. Technology upgrades and capacity-building assistance for 25 Florida-based African-American cultural organizations was also funded by the grant. The FAMME project is intended to build a stronger and more effective network of African-American Museums throughout the State of Florida. “The Institute of Museums and Library Services is an independent Federal agency that grows and sustains a “Nation of Learners” because lifelong learning is critical to success”.
April 2005-The network convened its biennial conference in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, hosted by Florida Atlantic University. Keynote speaker was James Early, Director of Policy-Folklife and Culture, The Smithsonian; Washington, DC.
February 2007 – The network convened its conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, hosted by Deputy Mayor Goliath Davis and the Carter G. Woodson Museum.
April 2003 - Entered into a partnership with Florida A&M University, Minority Business Enterprise office and the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce to assist with capacity-building for African-American Museums and Cultural Organizations in Florida February
August 2003 - Entered into a partnership with Tallahassee Community College. establishing the Riley Archive at Tallahassee Community College.
February 2003 - Initiated “Hidden Sages Project: Stories of Florida’s African American Experience.” This is an oral history project including Suwannee, Madison, Jefferson, and Gadsden counties. Sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council, the FAAHPN and the Southeast Regional African American Heritage Preservation Alliance. The project was concluded in February 2004.
Spring 2003 - Driving Tour: Pensacola to Tallahassee. In collaboration with Leon Stubbs of the Pensacola African American Museum, for Visit Florida, Inc. Product: “Tracing Our Roots” Driving Tour Guide and Map.
February 2001 - The Fifth Annual Southeast Regional African American Heritage Preservation Alliance Conference, hosted by the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network and the John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History and Culture. Theme: “Saving African American Places…A Legacy to Maintain.” The conference hosted preservationists, educator and scholars from nine southeastern states and the District of Columbia. Featured speakers included Donovan Rypkema, noted industry leader and expert on the economics of preservation, and Dr. Larry Rivers, acclaimed historian and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Conference attendees toured historic sites in the area, including the Riley House, the Frenchtown neighborhood, and the Hadley Museum of African American History in Thomasville, Georgia. “Living History” awards were presented to Dr. Roosevelt Wilson, publisher of the Capital Outlook newspaper and a former journalism professor, and Patricia Stephens Due, a civil rights activist who was a leader of the student protest movement during the 1960s.