Thursday, September 19, 2019

Accidental Historian Install

The Accidental Historian Exhibit will be on display the the Orange County Regional History Center (65 East Central Boulevard Orlando FL) from September 21, 2019 to January 21, 2020. I went in to sketch during the install of the exhibit. I was  intrigued with the fact the eight years of my sketchbooks were stacked like the Tower of Terror inside a glass museum case. The staff tried to just stack the books but it swayed uncontrollably and they had to come up with a plan B. A clear plastic spine was created that supports the high column of books but even with that solution, the tower slumps forward just a bit like an old man reaching for a cane. On top of the tower one sketchbook is open to a sketch of a giant inflatable alligator that was once in front of the History Center thanks to Heather Henson. A laser level stood sentry like a War of the Worlds armored attack vehicle. It stood on spindly legs staring at the sketchbook tower perhaps judging how fragile it looked.

In this exhibition, created at the History Center, you get to learn how individuals who are absorbed in documenting the world of today accidentally become some of Central Florida’s finest historians for the future. You can also catch a glimpse into some of the museums collections that were created for the now – more than 100 years ago.

The Accidental Historian features both historic and contemporary work and collections, including drawings by the renowned artist and teacher Ralph Bagley and Orlando Urban Sketchers , poetry by Orlando’s inaugural poet laureate Susan Lilley, audiovisual work by food blogger Ricky Ly, historic images by photographer T.P. Robinson, and of course a some Orlando sketches by myself.

Visitors to the exhibit can create 19th-century “tweets” and step into a larger-than-life, Instagrammable photo station, along with other fun features. The exhibit is fully bilingual, presented in both English and Spanish. Related programs range from preservation workshops to poetry readings and a historical food-based demonstration.

In my sketch, I focused on the huge open sketchbook in the corner of the room where Orlando Urban Sketchers work was displayed. I am proud that these artists who work together to explore Central Florida with their sketchbooks are now seeing their work exhibited in a museum. Their vision is unique in a time when people tend to shoot homogenized selfies with thoughtless abandon. These artists take the time to truly see the world around them.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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