During the month of August, my co-facilitator Naomi Greene and I visited the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, FL. MOSI won the National Medal Award, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the ten best libraries and museums around the country.
MOSI’s core ideology is to make a difference in people’s lives by making science real for people of all ages and backgrounds. During our visit to MOSI, we recorded interviews with people that share their love and passion for science with all the museum’s visitors.
Julie Fooshee (L) and Hadley Andersen (R) took time out of their very busy day to sit down and discuss their research and work at MOSI. They have amazing jobs. Known throughout the MOSI organization as “interactors,” Julie and Hadley spend a lot of their time in and around the museum’s 450 exhibits. Julie describes an interactor as “…a little bit of everything. They play, they teach…they are tour guides. Everything.” Interactors are the people that make the exhibits and the information come alive for the patrons.
Ask Casey Gonzmart, fourth-generation owner and operator of Ybor (EE-bore) City’s Columbia Restaurant what to order and he’ll answer “The Cuban.” This is the now famous and widely imitated sandwich that, Casey explained during his StoryCorps recording, is not so much Cuban as it is Tampa. The sandwich itself embodies some of the history of Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood where the MobileBooth has been recording stories for the last month.
“I am from islands remote and untouched
from history sung
from genealogies passed down through generations.
I am from a place of no written word.”
–From Origin by Moana
Voices from Inside is an organization based in Western Massachusetts that brings writing workshops to women in prison and formerly incarcerated women. Moana, who participated in the program and now teaches the workshops, came to StoryCorps to record a conversation with her daughter. A keeper of journals her whole life, Moana wrote her first poem in prison and found it to be “an avenue to speak deeply about yourself which doesn’t expose too much of yourself.”
Moana and daughter Jillian after making her recording in Greenfield, MA
It is such a joy to see communities working together to bring StoryCorps to their town. WMNF community run public radio (a member of Pacifica‘s listener supported community radio stations) is our partner in Tampa, Florida to bring StoryCorps to the Ybor City neighborhood. Started in 1979, the station became Florida’s first community radio station. “WMNF celebrates and promotes the creative, cultural and political vitality of the local community.”
The East MobileBooth is parked in Ybor City, formed when Vicente Martinez Ybor opened a cigar factory in Florida to make his Cuban cigars. WMNF, the Ybor City State Museum, YCDC, Artist and Writers, and Tre Amici’s coffee all stepped forward to make StoryCorps feel welcome from great promotion and community outreach to restaurant recommendations and cafe con leche! The history and hospitality of this area is palpable, and we expect some great stories.