County Encourages Community to Voice Support for Proposed Florida Museum of Black History Location in St. Augustine
St. Johns County has put out a call to action to its residents to help encourage the State to locate the proposed Florida Black History Museum in St. Augustine. In December 2023, Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd announced the release of a public survey to gather input for the legislatively created Florida Museum of Black History Task Force. The public survey is available online through February 29, 2024. The Department of State is distributing the survey on behalf of the Florida Museum of Black History Task Force, which was created by legislation signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on May 11, 2023.
Responses received from the public will be included in the Task Force’s report to the Florida Legislature to be completed before July 1, 2024. The survey is a vital component of the Task Force’s report and is an opportunity for the public to participate in the process of planning for the future museum.
St. Johns County has the Florida Museum of Black History listed as a priority in its 2024 Legislative Action Plan, and the Board of County Commissioners is requesting residents provide their input to help make this a reality. One proposed site is the former Florida Memorial University located in St. Augustine.
“This is an enormous opportunity for our community to voice its opinion and share its desire for this historic museum,” St. Johns County District 2 Commissioner and Chair Sarah Arnold said. “I encourage everyone in St. Johns County to take the time to complete and share the short survey and join in the effort to create recommendations that the Department of State will submit to the Florida Legislature. Having the Florida Museum of Black History in our community would be a tremendous honor, and there is no better location for it. This is the Historic Coast – no one can tell these impactful stories the way we can. St. Johns County’s unwavering support of community pillars like Fort Mose State Park and the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, along with our powerful Civil Rights history, emphasizes how compatible the Florida Museum of Black History would be here.”
St. Johns County is working on the Florida Museum of Black History project in collaboration with Florida Memorial University, the West Augustine Community Redevelopment Area, the Accord Civil Rights Museum, the Friends of Fort Mose State Park, Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, the City of St. Augustine, the St. Johns County Visitors and Convention Bureau, and the St. Johns Cultural Council.
The Florida Museum of Black History Task Force is a nine-member body appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate President. Its purpose is to develop plans for the location, design, construction, operation, administration, and marketing of the future museum. The Task Force will also develop a transition plan for the museum to become financially self-sufficient and recommend priorities for collections acquisition, exhibits, research, and educational materials for use in Florida schools.
For more information about the Florida Museum of Black History Task Force, including member bios and links to recordings of past meetings, visit www.FLHeritage.com/BlackHistoryMuseum. The next meeting of the Task Force will be held via webinar on Jan. 12, 2024, at 9 a.m.