Shell Museum awarded matching grant to build new exhibit
Dr. Jos H. Leal, director/curator of The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, announced earlier this week that the museum was awarded a “Culture Builds Florida” grant by State of Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs. The grant will augment private donations designated for development of a new exhibit.
An exhibit on edible mollusks was part of the original Shell Museum exhibit plan. Late in 2008, the museum board decided to move forward with fund-raising for the new exhibit. At the time of the board meeting in March 2009, the museum had raised $30,000.
A grant proposal requesting matching funds for design and fabrication of the exhibit – titled “MMM… Mollusks!” – made the final cut in September 2009. The exhibit will explore uses of mollusks as food across human cultures.
The grant is part of the highly competitive “Culture Builds Florida” cycle of the State of Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs. The museum will be awarded the requested $25,000 to match donations made by Museum members James Hartman, Harry G. Lee and Jack Lightbourn.
Synergy Design Group of Tallahassee, Fla., is responsible for the design and fabrication. The design will be completed by early 2010 with fabrication expected by June 2010.
For millennia, people have savored the unique flavors and textures of mollusks. At the heart of many local cuisines throughout the world, mollusks are nutritious and delicious, and our enjoyment of them depends on a healthy environment. Mollusks have been an important food source for many different cultures around the world at least since the appearance of modern man.
This newest addition to the Great Hall of Shells will build on the institution’s mission, educating visitors about mollusks using local, global, and historical perspectives to encompass:
As the visitor enters the Great Hall of Shells, the new exhibit will appear across from existing exhibits on mollusks around the world. “MMM Mollusks!” will engage the visitor with a visual buffet of images and objects from all over the world, depicting local, global and historical uses of mollusks as food. Light treatments will provide appropriate lighting for evening events, with adjustable spotlight fixtures concealed by a soffit.
Authentic objects, including packaged foods such as dried squid and canned clams, and touchable food replicas, such as raw oysters and tako-yaki, will give the visitor a sense of the variety of ways people prepare and enjoy edible mollusks. Brief text will explore the themes described above, explain the images and objects included in the exhibit, and introduce a touch screen interactive that offers visitors the freedom to learn as much as they want.
The caption for this concept, “MMMMollusks!” will appear to the left as the visitor enters the Great Hall of Shells and will occupy a single wall approximately 12.5 feet by 7.5 feet in area, and extend no more than 3.5 feet into the exhibit space.
A touch-screen interactive begins with a selection of mollusk varieties, such as octopus, clam, oyster, mussel, snail and squid. Upon choosing a variety, the visitor is presented with a map showing selected regions of the world where people eat or have eaten that mollusk. When the visitor chooses a region, he or she will find a brief summary exploring one or more of the above themes, information on when and how to enjoy that mollusk and recipes from the selected region. Information on where to find dishes locally may be included and the visitor may print recipes to try at home.
Check The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s Web site – www.shellmuseum.org – for future project updates.