The South Florida Frontier compares and contrast the South Florida frontier with the American West frontier, and examines the lives of the diverse groups of people who interacted with each other in South Florida, including Seminole Indians, Anglo-Americans, African-Americans and African-Bahamian migrants, who, despite their differences, shared many frontier experiences.
This exhibition will highlight four major themes of frontier life – Life on the Frontier, Trading Posts, Seminole Wars and Mythology of the Frontier – with more than 200 artifacts, photomurals, oil paintings, prints, photographs, maps and books from the Historical Museum’s collection and the collections of other museums, libraries and individuals.
One of the main attractions of The South Florida Frontier is a full-scale reproduction of a South Florida trading post, similar to William and Mary Brickell’s store that stood for more than 30 years near the Miami River. The trading post will display a selection of thought-provoking nineteenth-century South Florida and Western artifacts, including alligator and buffalo hides, Seminole clothing and gear, trades goods, farming tools, lanterns, and beads used by Seminoles for decoration and spiritual purposes. A hand-cranked sewing machine and other relevant relics will illustrate the beginnings of Seminole appliqué and patchwork, a sewing style that became popular around the world. The trading post will also house an early postal office of the region (the Lemon City Post Office), as well as a children’s interactive corner with trade furs, beads and other items.
Two significant incidents of the Seminole Wars, the Indian Key Massacre and the Battle of Okeechobee, will be covered. Items of interest on display include the nightcaps worn by the Perrine family on the night of the Island Key Massacre; photomurals of the cultural groups that inhabited the frontier; and photographs by Ralph Munroe of key places and people of the times, such as the Bay View House, the home built by Charles and Isabella Peacock at present-day Peacock Park in Coconut Grove.
Other South Florida personalities in the exhibition include botanist Dr. Henry Perrine, the most famous casualty of the Indian Key Massacre; Ed Watson, the outlaw who was gunned down outside the Smallwood Store in Chokoloskee Island; and women who became community leaders, such as Flora McFarlane, Mariah Brown, Isabella Peacock, Mary Brickell and Julia Tuttle. Areas of South Florida featured include places from Juno to Ft. Jefferson, such as Ft. Lauderdale, Biscayne ( Miami Shores), Miami River, Cutler, Key West and the Chokoloskee Bay region.
Organized by HistoryMiami.