Monday, August 17, 2009

Florida: History

When one has a sunburn, or simply far too much salt in one's hair, sometimes it's a good idea to take a break from the beach for a day. We decided to spend our anti-sun day inside at the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

I love museums, and maybe I've lived in New York City too long, because I really have a great affection for the little museums. Don't get me wrong, I love the Met and the MoMa and stuff like that, but the little small town museums just seem so much more... welcoming?

This little museum was no exception. It was very small, but pretty thorough. I enjoyed the many exhibits devoted to the local pottery throughout the ages. I focused quite a bit on pottery back when I was digging in Greece every summer, and I really enjoyed reading the pot sherds. I obviously know nothing about New World ceramics, but that made it even more interesting.

I noticed throughout the museum that many of the bowls and pots had a hole struck in the bottom of them. Turns out that the Indians did that in order to release the soul of the potter before they dedicated the bowls on the temple mound. I thought that was very interesting.

In addition to the little museum about Native American artifacts, they had preserved the 96 year old schoolhouse right next door. They had it all set up like it would have been back at the turn of the century. They even hung bonnets and hats by the door, and had slates and chalk set up on each desk.
To be honest, I don't think much about history when I think of Florida. I think of places like North Carolina and Georgia as having a deep and rich cultural heritage, but Florida really does too. I think it's easy for visitors in the area to become too married to the beach and to ignore the other offerings of Florida's Emerald Coast.

And that concludes my series on Florida. We're spending the next week in South Dakota with some of B's family, so the New York City Squirrel won't be posting for another week. But rest assured I will have many stories about our squirrely adventures in South Dakota!

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