First Encounters is published as an accompaniment to the Florida Museum of Natural History's traveling exhibit of the same name. That exhibit is funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by fees provided by the host institutions. Venues for the exhibit are the Florida Museum of Natural History ( Gainesville), the Museum of Science and Industry ( Tampa), the South Carolina State Museum ( Columbia), the Witte Museum ( San Antonio), the Albuquerque Museum, the South Street Seaport Museum ( New York City), the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, the Southwest Museum of Science and Industry ( Dallas), the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, the Science Museum of Minnesota ( St. Paul), and the Historical Museum of South Florida ( Miami).
The editors thank the volume contributors for their interest in this project and their willingness to help bring the story of the first New World encounters between Spaniards and native peoples to the public. We would like to thank also the staff of the Department of Interpretation of the Florida Museum of Natural History, epecially photographer Stan Blomeley, for their efforts in manuscript preparation. The staff of the University Presses of Florida's Central Publishing Unit, especially managing editor Judy Goffman, production manager Lynn Werts, and designer Larry Leshan, did their usual excellent job and are responsible for the timely publication of the book. We are grateful to them.
We are also grateful to the many individuals and institutions that cooperated in providing the artwork to illustrate First Encounters. They are listed in the illustration credits at the end of the book. This entire project (exhibit and book) owes its genesis to U.S. Senator Bob Graham and Ney C. Landrum, former director of the Florida Division of Recreation and Parks, and their interest in the Florida route of Hernando de Soto. We thank them both.