Greetings from the front of the house here at Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki! This is Emily Kubota, Lead Tour Guide. As a new employee of the museum, I look forward to all the new opportunities and challenges that await the tour guides in 2011. Tour guides must know cultural and historical facts about the Seminoles, native plants, and perform a variety of tasks. We do our best to answer visitors’ questions during tours, whether they are about the reservation, the people, or simply directions to the nearest café. The tour guides also have responsibilities involving cleaning of the galleries, greeting visitors, and working closely with school groups that visit.
On a daily basis, we tour guides have the opportunity to interact with the public. We get to meet a variety of people from all walks of life, from international visitors to native Floridians who have never been here before and always wondered what the museum was like. Lately we have had lots of back-packers who stop by Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki and Billie Swamp on their way to places like Missouri and North Carolina. It is always interesting to hear their stories about what the hike from Key West was like and the different experiences they have had on their journeys.
Behind the scenes, the guides are involved in creating educational programming. Currently we are working on a tour cart which will be a portable teaching station to educate children on different aspects of Seminole culture. It can be moved to various locations and will feature crafts and hands-on activities. We are also developing more school programs that will be geared towards specific topics in order to give students the most information possible.
The educational staff is also in the planning stages for a new event in May called Seminole Archaeology Day. It will teach kids the different aspects of archaeology and introduce them to the tools and methods archaeologists use while in the field. The tour guides will be focusing on Traditional Cultural Properties, which are areas of land that have significant meaning both culturally and traditionally to tribal members. Our program will take place on the boardwalk on the way to the living village and will include hands on activities for kids and an up-close view of nature.
The tour guides are excited to continue creating new learning experiences for school groups and the public alike. We look forward to your visit and will always be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Hopefully you will all be able to stop by Big Cypress and visit during this New Year!