Recounting History Is Labor-Intensive
Phelps, Bob, The Florida Times Union
Todd Kelley, a Timucuan Indian history expert, cut wild
grapevines from a Jacksonville forest to construct the woven
Timucuan hut near the front of the "Currents of Time" exhibit at
the Museum of Science and History.
Kelley used an ax and fire technique that the Timucuan used to
hollow out a log for a dugout canoe in the Timucuan display.
These are examples of the painstaking effort and extensive
research that went into the construction, still in progress, at
the $1 million exhibit. Here are some other facts about the
Kelley hand-made all the deer-skin clothing, shell jewelry,
weapons and tools on the Timucuan display, except for real
artifacts exhumed from trash and 12,000-year-old burial mounds.
These are displayed behind Plexiglas.
Kelley armed the life-sized Timucuan mannequins with sharpened
fingernails and toenails because the Timucuan used them as
The floors in the area of earlier history are coated with a
ground quartz and epoxy mix to give them an earthen look.
Dan Heslep, mural artist whose work on projects at Universal
Studios and elsewhere, recreated larger-than-life-sized scenes
of the forest, the Spanish era, the British era and even the
late 19th century downtown.
The mannequins used in a model of the Mission de San Juan del
Puerto (on what is now Fort George Island) were given plastic
surgery to make them more ethnically accurate.
The coquina used to demonstrate construction of the Castillo de
San Marcos was donated by a Jacksonville man who had it in his
The 18th century dock flooring was constructed with wooden pegs
of the period, instead of nails. The wooden portion of the ship
at the dock was given a black caulk between its timbers to
simulate the tar that was used to seal a ship.
The exhibit includes a cracker cabin made of rough-hewn timber.
However, Margo Dundon, executive director, said the museum chose
expediency over historical accuracy and sanded down the wood.
"We didn't want children going home with splinters or society
matrons snagging their clothes," she said. Timber for the cabin
was purchased from a family sawmill near the Okefenokee Swamp. …