Voices of Pensacola Showcases Multicultural Heritage
By Jodi Mailander Farrell
Pensacola's heritage is a cultural gumbo, with residents tracing their heritage back to Africa, Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia, the West Indies and the Mediterranean.
Now there’s a place to hear their stories.
“Voices of Pensacola” is a multicultural museum at 119 E. Government St. in downtown Pensacola that highlights the numerous cultural groups that have shaped Pensacola's history through dynamic exhibits. It’s also a place for local residents and visitors to gather, learn and tell their rich stories.
The center, a project of the University of West Florida Historic Trust, opened in October 2014 in the historic 1912 Beacon Building, which originally served as a grocery store but lived on as a tobacco and liquor company, and, more recently, a nightclub.
In addition to the exhibits, a digital recording station is available to record the oral histories of residents, visitors and others who have greatly impacted the region.
The first floor of the brick and pinewood Pensacola museum includes a small bookstore with books on the City of Pensacola and Escambia County. There’s a large exhibit space that highlights different aspects of the community, with displays such as “Threads of Pensacola.”
In one small area, people can record their memories and stories, as watch archives of what others have recorded. The stories can be personal accounts of events people have witnessed in Pensacola, how streets, businesses and homes have changed, and how families came to live in the area.
The walls of a first-floor small theater are covered with murals depicting past events and people in Pensacola, including the area’s Greek Festival, Fiesta of Five Flags parade, prize fighting and the early days of the University of West Florida.
Voices of Pensacola Multicultural Center is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: 850-595-5985; www.historicpensacola.org.
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