You enter the University of Central Florida’s Public History Center. To your left, there is a poster done by graduate students in a community history class, complete with quotes from students at the former school building. And covering the walls and yellow-papered boards are artifacts – lots and lots of artifacts from the Public History Center’s collection.
Is caring for a museum’s collection something you are interested in as a career? Or maybe you are hoping to design an innovative exhibit from artifacts and documents. You may even conduct research in an archive. Betty Sample, Curator of the Public History Center’s collections, discusses some of the unique objects you might encounter in our collections room.
|One of the most surprisingly interesting finds in the PHC collection has been a pair of Seminole County Public School personnel ledgers. These ledgers contain information by school of each teacher and principal, their salaries, training and certification, and teaching experience during the years 1913 to 1954. Many of the ledgers also contain the teachers’ home addresses and where they received their education. The information contained in the ledgers not only provides a comparison of salaries in 1913 to later years illustrating their climb as inflation affected the area, but shows the introduction of the various schools in the county system and how many teachers were employed by each, as well as useful details for people doing family research. Because the schools are classified in the ledgers as “white” and “colored,” they also offer insight into the differences in pay, requirements, and responsibilities for teachers in black and white schools.
Other items in the archival collection include a 1904-1906 student grade ledger; Sanford High School photographs, student work, and records ranging from 1902 to 1926; and local school yearbooks and newspapers from as early as 1910. One of our more interesting objects is a balopticon, a projector made in 1907 with accompanying preprinted educational glass lantern slides as well as blank lantern slides, ink, and instructions on making slides for individual classroom use. Equipped with electrical cords and an arc or incandescent lamp for use in schools with electricity, the balopticon could also be used with light produced by an acetylene lamp.