Viva Florida Newsletter
Florida Department of State
Florida Department of State Continues Viva Florida
In January, the Florida Department of State announced the continuation of the Viva Florida initiative, to promote cultural and historical experiences in Florida through to the end of 2015. This follows last year's successful campaign of Viva Florida 500, the 500 year anniversary commemoration of Juan Ponce de León landing on Florida's shores in 1513.
"Viva Florida 500 was the centerpiece in a series of important historical and cultural anniversaries in our state," said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. "From Pensacola's 450thanniversary in 2009 through St. Augustine's 450th anniversary in 2015, Viva Florida is an excellent way to promote Florida's diverse cultural heritage and rich history."  


Building on existing partnerships and a wide network of historic sites, Viva Florida will promote cultural heritage locations and events around the state. Over the next two years, Florida will recognize significant commemorative anniversaries and will promote them through the Viva Florida campaign. In 2014, Florida will join the national celebration of the 50 year anniversary since the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, while also commemorating the 450 year anniversary of the settlement of Fort Caroline in Jacksonville. In 2015, St. Augustine will mark 450 years as the nation's oldest continuously occupied city.  These anniversaries, as well as the cultural heritage sites and events around the state, will drive the focus for the Florida Department of State to continue the promotion of Florida's history and cultural heritage through Viva Florida.


View the full press release. 

Viva Florida: Florida Before Statehood

Viva Florida is offering a new traveling exhibit called "Florida Before Statehood," which is a collaborative production made possible by the Museum of Florida History's Traveling Exhibit Program (TREX).  


Florida's rich history and cultural diversity is captured in this 11 panel exhibit. From Native Americans and early colonies to European explorations and journeys seeking freedom, this exhibit explores the development of Florida into the great state we know today.   


This exhibit is ideal for smaller display spaces and would suit school, library or foyer venues.


To find out more about how you can reserve this informative exhibition for your venue, visit  



Statewide Time Capsule Seals 500th Year

As the activities for the 500 year anniversary wound down, one final statewide project was planned - the Viva Florida 500 statewide time capsule.  The time capsule brought together information and items from each of Florida's 67 counties, including Viva Florida 500 partners, reflecting on the theme "Life in Florida in 2013."


On December 31, 2013, the statewide time capsule was sealed at the R.A. Gray Building in Tallahassee. The time capsule will be displayed in the lobby of the R.A. Gray Building until March 2, 2095 when Florida will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Florida's statehood.


Thank you to everyone who participated in this once in a lifetime event. The complete list of items included can be found at 
Florida Memory Project Marks 50 Years of Civil Rights 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The State Archives of Florida will continue to highlight individuals and events that speak to the long history of the struggle for civil rights in Florida. From Josiah T. Walls to Carrie Meek, and Mary McLeod Bethune to C.K. Steele, Floridians figured prominently in the battle for equality in the United States, stretching back to the initial gains after the Civil War, through the indignity of Jim Crow, and culminating in the legal victories of the 1950s and 1960s. 


Using platforms such as the Florida Memory Project website, Blog, Facebook and other social media platforms, the State Archives will provide access to and context for primary source materials that help tell the history of civil rights in Florida.  


Newly added content will join existing resources available on the Florida Memory website, such as the Civil Rights Movement in Florida learning unit, numerous films and photographs, historical collections, and a wealth of blog posts that introduce major themes from this important history.  


Connect with the Florida State Archives and The Memory Project in 2014 as the state honors the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. View the Florida Memory Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and website


Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience

St. Augustine's Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience exhibition showcases the important role African-Americans played in the historical and cultural development of America. This state-of-the-art exhibition features authentic objects, original documents, powerful photographs and interactive elements that depict the journey African-Americans experienced from our country's beginnings until today. The exhibition anchors a citywide passport program that connects visitors, residents and students to important African-American historical sites, exhibitions and programs throughout St. Augustine and St. Johns County.
The St. Augustine 450th Commemoration partnered with local and national organizations to present the true and accurate story of African-Americans and their important cultural contributions.Journey is a signature exhibition on display at the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center through July 15, 2014. 


Kongo Across the Waters: Harn Museum of Art

The Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville is currently hosting the first exhibition at an American museum to deeply explore the legacy of Kongo culture. The Kongo across the Waters exhibition showcases more than 160 works of historic and contemporary art and artifacts-including several never before exhibited archaeological discoveries-spanning more than six centuries.


Kongo across the Waters was developed to highlight a milestone in the history of African presence in North America and provide an important complement to Viva Florida 500. The Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León who arrived on La Florida in April 1513 counted among his crew members two free African men. This means that the first Europeans and the first Africans in North America arrived simultaneously, a fact of great historical and symbolic significance.


In addition to objects related to the Kongo culture in Africa, are a number of historically significant archaeological finds from the United States. The exhibition will also include a medallion that was discovered at Ft. Mose in Florida-the first legally sanctioned free black municipality in the United States.


The exhibition is on view through March 23, 2014, and was a collaboration between the Harn Museum of Art and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium. Upcoming programs and more information can be found at  

February 2014 
Florida Department of State Secretary of State Ken Detzner
In This Issue
Florida Department of State Continues Viva Florida
Viva Florida: Florida Before Statehood
Statewide Time Capsule Seals 500th Year
Florida Memory Project Marks 50 Years of Civil Rights
Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience
Kongo Across the Waters
Viva Florida


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This newsletter is funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Florida Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.