Colleagues from Palm Harbor, Casselberry, New Smyrna Beach, Belle Glade, and Marco Island converged at the Cedar Key Library’s upstairs meeting room to participate in the workshop designed to teach participants to ably interpret, assemble, and disassemble the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” traveling exhibit, which will remain in place until October 24, 2014. The group is pictured to the left.
The exhibit will travel to these other five small Florida cities when it leaves Cedar Key in October and these visitors will be the exhibit’s orchestrators in their towns. They came ready to learn and learn they did.
Welcoming them with smiles and coffee were Cedar Key Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, Cedar Key Historical Society President Ken Young, Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Director Galina Binkley, cedar Key's own Dr. John Andrews, and Levy County Visitors Bureau Exeutive Director Carol McQueen. Later in the day, participants experienced a first-hand taste of “how Cedar Key works” with lunch at Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, a location so integral to the city’s living history of fishing and tourism. Andrews, Colson, and McQueen are pictured to the right.
What was an empty room at 8am became, before noon, a series of colorful gears, action-filled pictures, informative banners, and interactives explaining how Americans have labored over the past 150 years.
Smithsonian Institution Director of Exhibits Carol Harsh led the workshop, carefully overviewing the contents of some twelve huge crates and their packing logic and demonstrating, in much detail, the erection of one of the exhibit’s parts. Instruction included everything from how to introduce visitors to the exhibit’s meaningful content to the repacking of the crates and the truck at the exhibit’s end. Harsh is pictured in the above left snapshot in the polka-dotted center.
Florida Humanities Council Program Coordinator Alex Buell and his colleagues Dr. Jennifer Snyder and Keith Simmons functioned as the critical support team assisting the small Florida cities’ representatives construct their assigned part of the exhibit. University of Florida Master Lecturer, the Department of History, Dr. Steven Noll will function as Cedar Key’s resident expert on the exhibit’s content.
Demonstrating the adage that learning is doing, the participants did, indeed, learn as they worked. Under Harsh’s careful eyes and with Buell’s, Snyder’s, and Simmons’ assistance, the exhibit took shape. No hammers, no nails, no pliers, no wrenches were needed, so well designed is the exhibit.
The session ended with no ceiling tiles, no ceiling fans, and no lights lost in the endeavor and learned, confident, smiling small cities’ representatives.