Weekend chock full of fun
Published: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 12:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 2:10 p.m.
Nearly 2,000 people will likely flock to see these seemingly random items, because these spatulas and corkscrews happen to be among somebody's most prized possessions. They are some of the approximately 100 collections that will be displayed Saturday at the Florida Museum of Natural History's Collectors Day.
The event boasts a wide assortment of collections, large and small. This year, museum staff will see collections of fishing flies, carousel horses, pigs and lighthouses. Visitors can also expect ocean-liner memorabilia, motorcycles and antique cars, usually set up outside.
"Anything you can think of, someone probably collects it," said Paul Ramey, director of marketing and public relations at the museum. "There's something there for everyone."
Like many museums, the Florida Museum began with a single collector. Natural-science professor Frank Pickel purchased research collections of fossils and minerals for teaching aids in 1891. Later, more professors began to donate.
The first Collectors Day in 1980 had about 20 collectors and 450 visitors. It served as a way to showcase private collections and also to demonstrate the variety of types of collections.
"The strength of our museum is in our collections," Ramey said. "It just makes sense that we would host this type of an event."
Mary Christopherson of Gainesville, a collector of Titanic memorabilia, began attending Collectors Day in the late 1980s. At that time, she collected motion-picture memorabilia, but in later years, she developed an interest in the Titanic.
Her collection began with a book about the doomed ship, "A Night to Remember," by Walter Lord, and developed from there.
The more I learn about it, the more questions I have," she said. "It's the thrill of discovering. It's sort of like you have the edge on a normal person."
Today, she owns more than 20 books and movies, two board games, a bell and lifesaver with "Titanic" written on them, miniature ships, newspaper pages from 1912, and a thick, wieldy scrapbook containing mostly modern newspaper clips. She has one piece of memorabilia that comes directly from the ship - a piece of coal she bought for $25.
A perk of regularly attending Collectors Day is that visitors are able to approach collectors with new items to add to their collections.
Such was the case with one of Christopherson's favorite pieces. Two years ago, a woman came to Christopherson's table with a letter from Harold Godfrey Lowe, an officer on the Titanic. Lowe wrote a letter to the woman's aunt shortly after the crash. The woman had brought a copy of her aunt's letter to donate to Christopherson's collection.
"People are very generous," she said.
Treasured items and entire collections are often passed along from person to person. An old collectors' rule says that collections can never be sold for money.
The Florida Museum of Natural History's 26th Annual Collectors Day will run Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Powell Hall, Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road
First annual Floridiana Show and Sale
On Saturday, the Matheson Museum downtown will host its inaugural Floridiana Show and Sale - featuring all sorts of Florida memorabilia, from postcards, decorative plates and sterling silver spoons to hand-crafted Seminole dolls, Highwaymen paintings and pine-needle baskets.
There will be 45 vendors at 28 tables, with prices from under a dollar to hundreds of dollars. The museum board came up with the idea, after having repeated success with an antique-bottle event.
"Our antique-bottle show has been so successful (for the last four years) that we hit upon doing the same kind of thing for Florida-themed antiques," says Lisa Auel, director of the Matheson Museum. "There isn't another show we know of in the entire state that has (just) Floridiana."
Auel and several board members began to contact collectors and antique-shop owners last spring.
"We placed ads all the way into the Panhandle," said Auel.
The show will be at The Matheson Museum, 513 E. University Avenue. Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
If high school left you feeling bogged down by the "thou arts" and the "hast thous" of Shakespeare, fear ye not. The Aquila Theatre Company is touring with The Bard's "Twelfth Night," and the New York City-based company prides itself on making Shakespeare relevant and accessible to today's audiences.
The company, which performed "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Gainesville in 2003, returns to the Phillips Center Sunday with "Twelfth Night," an adaptation branded with Aquila's modern twists.
"I think what they've done in terms of making Shakespeare modern to the audience is incredible," said Michael Blachly, director of University of Florida Performing Arts. "I think 'Twelfth Night' is really going to work well."
How modern? Here's a sneak peek:
Viola and Sebastian, the twins, wear doublets with modern shirts and leather pants.
Elizabethan music is performed on harpsichord, flute and harp but is backed by a drum-and-bass beat.
The text for this comedy remains as Shakespeare wrote it in - some scholars believe - 1601, but the edgier elements "open the door and make people feel like they are watching a modern piece," said Director Robert Richmond.
The show will be at Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 315 Hull Road, UF campus, 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Free pre-performance discussion starts at 6:45 p.m.
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