Stories of the Upper Keys Now On-display at Keys History & Discovery Center
Islamorada, FL – Stories of the Upper Keys is the latest permanent exhibit to be presented by the Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada. The most comprehensive and elaborate exhibit developed to date, it encapsulates several significant aspects of our local history. In addition to subjects like Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railway, the Overseas Highway, and the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, the exhibit explores the people who carved niches for themselves and their families from a considerably more inhospitable string of islands than the sub-tropical paradise we live in today.
The exhibit includes storyboards, more than 50 historic images, touchscreen monitors filled with more images and more stories as well as a video component with directional sound focused downward by audio domes in order to reduce the impact on surrounding exhibits. The first video available is an interview with President Herbert Hoover after a fishing excursion from North Key Largo’s exclusive Angler’s Club. Also featured in the exhibit are a smattering of artifacts on loan from the Flagler Museum and Upper Keys history guru, Jerry Wilkinson.
“Stories of the Upper Keys is presented as seven individual panels spanning roughly 30 feet of wall space” explains the Center’s Curator and Historian Brad Bertelli. “While each of the seven panels is offered as an individual piece and can be appreciated that way, because of the interconnectedness of this collection of panels, the exhibit as a whole tells a larger story.”
This massive exhibit was curated by Bertelli, designed by Bruce Merenda at Studio B Concepts, fabricated by S&L Millworks, and made possible through grants and donations from Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the Charles G. Wright Endowment for Humanity, and the Flagler’s Folly Society, a member organization of young professionals aimed at meeting the mission of the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation.
The Discovery Center is a museum, theater and gift shop, offering lessons in Keys history from the First People/Indians, Spanish Treasure Fleets, Pirates and Wreckers, history of fishing in the Keys, and Indian Key circa 1840, as well as stories of Flagler’s Railway and the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. A monthly lecture series, Keys History & Discovery Center Presents, is typically on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
The Discovery Center is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $12. Admission for seniors is $10 and children 13-under are free. Annual memberships with a range of benefits are available. For more information, call 305-922-2237 or visit our website at www.keysdiscovery.com.