Browse Exhibits (20 total)

Selling Sunshine: Florida's Citrus Industry

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This exhibit explores the history of Florida's citrus industry through various materials held by University of South Florida Tampa Library’s Special Collections: post cards, sheet music, rare books, promotional materials, industry documents, and political correspondence.  If Florida's identity is irrevocably entwined with the citrus industry, some of these materials served as the glue that joined them in the public's mind. For Florida boosters, it was not just a matter of marketing citrus.  They sold a bit of Florida sunshine in every crate of citrus and carton of orange juice.

Florida Water: History of Reliance, Abuse, and Restoration

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Water is an all-important topic in the past, present, and future of Florida.  In many ways, water defined Florida at every stage of its history.  Water shaped the peninsula of Florida when European explorers and cartographers attemped to map the territory.  Agriculture, fishing, and tourism all rely upon clean water for profits.  Florida's role in warfare and shipping would not be possible without access to water and the state's strategic location between the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

This exhibit showcases sources on all of these topics and more.  It also traces humanity's slow and often reluctant realization that Florida's natural resources are unique and irreplaceable.  With control of Florida's resources comes responsibility and stewardship.  The future health of Florida's water is ultimately determined by how we behave today.

Using materials held in the University of South Florida Tampa Library's Special Collections, this exhibit reminds us of water's importance to Florida's history and future, all the while displaying a variety of resources for use in further research. 

Speaking Out About Genocide: The Voices of Survivors, Upstanders, and Experts

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Throughout the 20th century, genocides were perpetrated across the globe.  Governments attempted to exterminate entire classes of their citizens based on religion, race, or ethnicity.  Tribal and clan prejudices led to civil wars where hundreds of thousands were killed, injured, and/or left homeless and displaced to refugee camps. 

This exhibit explores the history and reality of genocide through the voices of the people effected.  Survivors describe, sometimes in graphic detail, their lives before, during, and after genocide.

Activists and scholars discuss how genocides happen and what can be done to stop genocide in the future.

Living a Genocide: The Children of Darfur

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Children bear the brunt of any armed conflict and tend to be viewed as victims, although they are rarely given a platform to describe their experiences. This online exhibition features drawings by Darfuri children living in refugee camps in Eastern Chad. They represent eyewitness accounts of atrocities committed by the Janjaweed militia group and Sudanese government forces as they attacked unarmed civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan from 2003 through 2006. These children's drawings are going to be adduced at the International Criminal Court as testimony against those charged with planning and executing the atrocities in Darfur.

The History of Minstrelsy

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This exhibit explores the history of minstrelsy, its significance in American history and theater, and its enduring legacy. Utilizing materials from the USF Tampa Library's Special Collections African American Sheet Music Collection, it is possible to trace the history of blackface minstrelsy from its obscure origins in the 1830s to Hollywood jazz superstardom in the 1920s.

Minstrelsy in America, for all of its frivolous humor and popularity, was an exploitative form of musical theater that exaggerated real-life black circumstances and reinforced dangerous stereotypes during the 19th and 20th centuries. The fact that blackface minstrelsy began in the antebellum period and endured throughout Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Great Migration, with performers collecting and adding cultural aspects from each era to their performances, hints at the impact, popularity, and complexity of the minstrel show.

White supremacy and the belief in black inferiority remained at minstrelsy’s base even though the structure of the performances and subjects discussed in the music varied over time. The genre shaped the nation’s views on race for over a century and reinforced white superiority well after the abolition of slavery. While some today assume that minstrelsy’s blackface has roots in the American South because of the genre’s focus on black degradation and slavery, minstrelsy was born and evolved initially in the North.

For the majority of whites living in the pre-Civil War North, slavery and black people were a distant reality, one that evoked mixed emotions. If slavery was the commodification of black labor, minstrelsy, with its focus on presenting authentically black songs and dances, was the commodification of black culture. However, the depictions of blacks in minstrel performances were exaggerated, dehumanizing and inaccurate. Instead of representing black culture on stage, blackface minstrel performers reflected and reinforced white supremacy.

After emancipation in 1865, African American performers, seeing minstrelsy as an opportunity for advancement, contributed a humanizing element to their portrayal of blacks even though they also performed in blackface. Black performers during the Jim Crow era combined blackface with the newly popular genre of vaudeville and brought a black political agenda to their stage performances. During the 1930s, minstrelsy lost its widespread popularity to jazz but could still be seen in aspects of American society such as film. The popular film The Jazz Singer (1927) was about a white man wanting to become a blackface performer and featured Al Jolson, the most well-known performer of the decade. At the time, the film was the biggest earner in Warner Bros., and its success indicated that the age of minstrelsy in American history was far from over. Even in the twenty-first century, the racial stereotypes derived from minstrel shows can still be seen in popular culture.

Click here to enter the exhibition.

 

Portraying Courage: Holocaust Survivors in Voice & Image

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In the Fall of 2010, the USF Tampa Library Department of Special and Digital Collections partnered with the Florida Holocaust Museum to present an exhibit entitled “Art and Autobiography: Holocaust Survivor Portraits by Nava Mentkow.” This digital exhibition of portraits and testimonies is presented as a lasting effort not only to share Nava Lundy's (nee Mentkow) sensitive and poignant portraits, but to preserve each survivor’s history and provide a meaningful multimedia experience.

"When you listen to a witness, you become a witness."     -  Elie Wiesel

 

Five Hundred Years of Discovering Florida

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This exhibit was prepared by eleven students for an Honors College class "Major Works/Ideas" in the Spring of 2012.  Under the supervision of librarian-instructor Andy Huse, each student's assignment was to present an aspect of Florida's history or culture using only materials from USF Tampa Library's Special Collections.  The summary below is culled from their written introduction.

"In this exhibit, we will explore the history of what is now the state of Florida, including the culture of the Indian tribes that predated European presence by thousands of years, the technological advances that allowed the peninsula’s population and economy to develop into one of the largest of the 50 states, and the development of the tourism industry (and other related fields) that became the state’s trademark into the 21st century. We will present a narrative of Florida’s development based on historical photos and documents, as well as modern texts and accounts of the state’s history."

 

Art of the Poison Pens: A Century of American Political Cartoons

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Art of the Poison Pens: A Century of American Political Cartoons is a testament to the long-standing and vital role that the visual arts have played in the construction of an American political identity. Sometimes cartoons mock, cajole, poke, prod, offend and embarrass their subjects, while at other times they are lamentations during times of challenge and distress.

With examples ranging in date from 1871 to the present, Art of the Poison Pens explores more than a century of American political history through the lens of humor. Here we feature the work of Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartoons winners placed alongside several relatively unknown cartoonists who plied their trade in local newspapers.

This exhibition was drawn from The Mahan Collection of American Humor and Cartoon Art in the Special & Digital Collections Department at the University of South Florida Tampa Library. Dr. Charles Mahan, Dean and Professor Emeritus in the USF College of Public Health, donated the materials in 2006. Dr. Mahan began collecting political cartoons, animation art, and comic strips from auctions and antique stores in 1950, and the collection grew in depth and breadth to include letters from cartoonists and notes from many personal meetings between the collector and the artists.

A version of this exhibit first appeared at the Tampa Museum of Art from August 4 – September 16, 2012, in conjunction with the City of Tampa’s role as host of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

The University of South Florida: A Historic Overview

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For such a young institution, the University of South Florida has a colorful and remarkable history of innovation and growth.  Opened as a university bereft of dormitories or athletics, USF has climbed the ranks from obscure upstart to a major player among the nation's institutions of higher learning.  Created with student input and text, this exhibit provides an introduction to USF history, largely from a student's perspective.

 

Greek Community Documentation Project

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Tarpon Springs preserves a strong Greek character and unique maritime heritage. The City of Tarpon Springs has collaborated with USF Special Collections to create this online exhibition documenting the history and culture of the Greek community.  Built on the framework of the permanent exhibit The Greek Community of Tarpon Springs at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum, we have substantially expanded it with new materials.