University of South Florida St. Petersburg



New speaker series invites community to learn about history and preservation in Florida

PlacemattersSP/FloridaStudies Speaker Series

Two new speakers’ series on the USF St. Petersburg campus will give the public a chance to explore history and local preservation through interactive and engaging lectures during the spring semester.

The PlaceMattersSP Lecture Series and Florida Studies Speaker Series will start in February, continue through April and feature award-winning authors, artists and educators. Those attending will learn about local landmarks, art and urban revitalization, iconic wildlife, archaeology sites in our local parks and how augmented reality helps preserve the past.

The PlaceMattersSP Lecture Series, hosted by the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library (NPML), is part of a partnership with Preserve the ‘Burg, whose mission is to educate, advocate and celebrate St. Pete’s history. The lectures are being presented inside the atrium of the recently renovated NPML. The series will feature experts in emerging technologies, archaeology and urban development and tourism.

“We wanted to share the library here on the St. Pete campus as a resource for the community,” said Kristina Keogh, dean of the NPML. “It’s a space for research, but also a place where people can come together, learn about different topics, share their knowledge and see different methods of doing things.”

The name of the PlaceMattersSP series refers to architecture, place, sights, history and preservation in St. Petersburg.

“It’s become a mission at the library to tell all these amazing stories that have happened in St. Peterburg,” Keogh said.

The Florida Studies Speaker Series is part of the 20th-year celebration of the Florida Studies Program on the USF St. Petersburg campus. The unique, interdisciplinary graduate program offers courses that highlight Florida’s critical role in regional, national and global affairs. This new speaker series will feature experts in history, the humanities and art.

“Let’s do some learning outside the classroom,” said Chris Meindl, associate professor of Geography and director of the Florida Studies Program. “Part of the program is taught in the classroom; some of it is research and field trips, but the other part is hearing from people outside the bubble of the St. Petersburg campus. Our first speaker is a USF graduate, but he’s also a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.”

Find below a detailed summary of each talk, as well as date and location, within the Florida Studies and PlaceMattersSP Lecture Series during the spring semester.

Florida Studies Speaker Series, Lynn Pippenger Hall

February 28, 6:00 p.m.

“The Bald Eagle, the Improbable Journey of America’s Bird”

Jake E. Davis is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and USF Alumnus. He will discuss his new book, which follows the history of the bald eagle from an unwanted barnyard predator to the beloved symbol of our country.

March 28, 6:00 p.m.

“Florida Landmarks, Lodgings & Legends”

Longtime Tampa artist Charles Greacen creates meticulous, photo-like drawings in pen and ink of iconic structures in the Tampa Bay area. In this interview-style lecture, local historian Gary Mormino will ask Greacen questions about his work.

April 20, 6:00 p.m.

“Lost Voices from St. Augustine’s Parish Archive, 1594 – 1821”

J. Michael Francis, professor of History and Hough Family Chair of Florida Studies on the USF St. Petersburg campus, will discuss his latest Research and ongoing digital archive project, “La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas.”

PlaceMattersSP Lecture Series, Nelson Poynter Memorial Library

February 22, 6:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.

“Immersive St. Pete: How New Technologies Can Help Preserve the Past”

Lori Collins, an associate professor in Research and co-director of the USF Libraries Center for Digital Heritage and Geospatial Information, will demonstrate how 3D digitization and emerging technologies are used to preserve, document and showcase heritage sites worldwide.

March 22, 6:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.

“St. Pete Below the Surface: Archaeology in our City Parks”

Rachael Kangas, regional director for the west central and central regions of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, will talk about the thousands of years of human activity that have enjoyed the same places we love to visit today and the archaeology in our city parks.

April 25, 6:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.

“Shine On: Street Art and Urban Revitalization”

Elizabeth Strom, USF Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs, and Jenee Priebe, Director of the SHINE Mural Festival, will look at St. Pete’s street art scene and its relationship to urban revitalization, civic identity and tourism.

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