Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Accidental Historian install.

At the Orange County Regional History Center, (65 E. Central Blvd. Orlando, Florida 32801) I watched as a large cartography sketch by J.O. Fries was projected on a wall  for the Accidental Historian. This Central Florida sketch shows Lake Holden and Lake Jessup. Fries filled book after book with these detailed drawings were done as he paced off the woods and back roads by foot. The land was graphed off into a grid and then details were incorporated with old school pen and ink on paper. Trees look like arrows and wetlands are fields of dashes. His job was to document every mile and yard of the barren Central Florida landscape. His hand drawn maps documented lakes swamps and dirt roads that then dominated the landscape. Today Google satellite views show the same landscape littered with strip malls and suburban sub divisions.

I helped hand draw one section of this huge wall display. It involved working on each panel while on hands and knees. After a while the repetitive nature of the marks made became second nature. Quite a few different History Center  staff took turns adding to the large hand drawn map, yet it all pulls together in the exhibit.

Because I am interested in family history I was fascinated by the diaries on display and he funeral books citing caused of death for Orlando citizens over the years. Fries daughter wrote intimate diaries in her native tongue which I believe was Swedish. Transcriptions detailed how her family adjusted to the Florida climate.

This is a fun show with many Instagramable selfie moments. The opening of the show had a large image of the Lake Eola fountain half of the image is drawn by me with the rainbow colored amphitheater in the background and the other half is a photo form the 1920s by T.P Robinson.

The exhibit is up through January 20, 2020.
Other events surrounding the exhibition:
First Friday Lunch and Learns
History Center staff offer a behind-the-scenes look at the museum and share their research.
Also a public exhibition of the shortlisted design team submissions will take place from October 3 to October 9, 2019 at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida. This will be accompanied by a digital exhibition of the shortlisted teams’ proposals on the onePULSE design competition website. The public will have an opportunity to share their comments.

The six shortlisted teams (in alphabetical order) are:
  • Coldefy and Associés with RDAI, Xavier Veilhan, dUCKS scéno, Agence TER, Prof. Laila Farah
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rene Gonzalez Architects with Raymond Jungles, Inc.
  • heneghan peng architects, Gustafson Porter + Bowman, Sven Anderson & Pentagram
  • MASS Design Group, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Sasaki, Sanford Biggers, Richard Blanco, Porsha Olayiwola
  • MVRDV, Grant Associates, GSM Project and Studio Drift
  • Studio Libeskind with Claude Cormier + Associés, Thinc, and Jenny Holzer

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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