A trip north to Washington, D.C. to experience all the Smithsonian Institution has to offer may not be economically feasible for many local residents and families, so the Smithsonian is bringing a little of itself to Tarpon Springs.
For nearly three months beginning today, Thursday, the city of Tarpon Springs and the Center for Gulf Coast Folklife will play host to “Journey Stories,” a Museum on Main Street exhibit created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
“We’re amazingly lucky to have the Smithsonian come to us,” said Tina Bucuvalas, the city’s curator of arts and historical resources. “They’re one of the premier museums in the country and incredibly professional.”
The exhibit — which focuses on the many different migrations of people to not only the country but also the state of Florida, Pinellas County and Tarpon Springs, specifically — officially displays starting today until July 6. Today’s free public reception will be from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S. Pinellas Ave.
The Museum on Main Street program is the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s key initiative to directly engage small-town audiences, according to the Smithsonian’s website. MoMS exhibits can be found on display throughout the nation and securing grant money from the Florida Humanities Council was paramount to Tarpon Springs becoming one of those destinations.
“We would never have been able to produce something like this or have something like this without the assistance of the Smithsonian and its Main Street program and the Florida Humanities Council,” Bucuvalas said Monday afternoon, adding that the exhibit was installed earlier that day. “It looks beautiful; just amazing.”
While the exhibit will be viewable Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., it will also feature periodic public programs that run on specified days from 7:30 - 9 p.m. These were developed by Bucuvalas and Cultural Services as a way to supplement “Journey Stories” with a more localized focus.
“In addition to the exhibit we’re sort of augmenting it by doing the separate journey exhibits,” she said.
Those begin with the opening day program, titled “Community Voices: How We Came Here and What We Brought.” April 18’s program is “Scholars and Stories,” followed by “Xenitia: Journey Songs of the Greek Diaspora” on May 31 and “Journey Films” on June 22.
To find more information about the Smithsonian’s “Journey Stories” exhibit and the Center for Gulf Coast Folklife’s additional public programs, go to www.TarponArts.org or call (727) 942-5605.