As part of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s mission to preserve and interpret Seminole history and culture, the Exhibits Division strives to create and mount vibrant and educational exhibits. These exhibits include permanent and temporary displays that we showcase at the Museum, as well as packaged traveling exhibits that are available for loan.
Recently, the Museum hosted an opening reception for our newest temporary exhibit, Camera-man: The Seminole Through the Lens of Julian Dimock. We hope everyone had a chance to attend and enjoy this reception and we want to encourage you to visit the Museum’s Facebook page for more information and images of the reception. For those who did not have a chance to attend the reception, or for those who would like to revisit the exhibit, it will be on view through December 2013.
The Camera-man exhibit consists of modern prints produced from photographer Julian Dimock’s glass plate negatives and Seminole artifacts. The images were taken and the artifacts were collected during a 1910 expedition through the Everglades. In addition to being collected during the same expedition, many of these artifacts are the exact items shown in the pictures on display. The pictures create a link from the artifacts to the history of Seminole Tribe. For more information on Julian Dimock, and the expedition during which these negatives were taken and artifacts were collected, see the book Hidden Seminoles, by Jerald T. Milanich and Nina J. Root. Copies of this book can be found in the Museum’s library, and are for sale in the Museum Store.
These negatives and artifacts belong to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. The Museum’s Programs and Collections Divisions worked with the AMNH to make this exhibit possible. Loan arrangements between museums can be involved and complicated, but they are done that way to best protect the artifacts. These arrangements usually include stipulations on packing, shipping, handling, display, and monitoring. And for this exhibit in particular, the arrangements included an additional stipulation by the AMNH that one of their conservators assist with the exhibit installation.
For the exhibit installation, AMNH conservator Gabrielle Tieu travelled to the Big Cypress Reservation and the Museum for two days to assist with the installation of the loaned artifacts. Ms. Tieu insured the proper handling, display, and installation of the artifacts. It was a pleasure to work with her and the Museum wishes to thank her for all of her assistance during the installation.
We asked Ms. Tieu about her experience here at the Museum. She said in part, “After having worked months ahead of time to prepare the objects ready for the exhibition – reading about the Seminole Tribe, investigating the technology of the objects, documenting their condition, and undertaking their treatments –, it was a very meaningful experience to discover the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation and to work with the wonderful team at the Museum.” She also told us how much she enjoyed visiting and spending the night at Billie Swamp Safari!
The Museum worked with the AMNH, the author of Hidden Seminoles, Dr. Milanich, and many others to mount this exhibit and to better identify these photographs, artifacts, and all of the Julian Dimock images held by the Museum. But much of the history of these items is still unknown. The Museum seeks the assistance of any of our blog readers who would like to help us research and further identify the individuals in these photos. If you would like to participate in this research, please phone the Museum at 863.902.1113, or contact us via the Museum’s website to assist us in this work.