St. Petersburg, Florida (July 18, 2003) Florida International Museum (FIM) announces two major exhibits will open later this year. Russian Odyssey: Riches of the State Russian Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Baseball As America open November 1 and December 13, respectively. The Russian and baseball exhibits represent more than one thousand objects, and FIM will be reconfigured to house both. To make room for the two exhibits, John F. Kennedy: The Exhibition will close on August 3, 2003.
“ It’s been a great run for the Kennedy Exhibition,” said Kathy Oathout, FIM Executive Director. “It has been the lynchpin of FIM operating year-round. We want the public to know they have a last chance to see this remarkable collection.”
Featured since 2000, the Kennedy Exhibition includes over 500 items of a personal nature relating to the Kennedy family and includes a re-creation of the West Wing of the White House and a Jackie Kennedy gallery. Artifacts are rotated from the museum's permanent collection and loaned items are also displayed to complement the exhibits. Much of the collection comes from the estate of Evelyn Lincoln, personal secretary to the former President for twelve years.
Florida International Museum will host two impressive exhibits this Fall. “Never before have we had two exhibits of this magnitude on display simultaneously,” said Oathout. “The State Russian Museum exhibit is the first time these artifacts have left Russia, and the Baseball As America tour is the first time that exhibit has left Cooperstown.” Russian Odyssey: Riches of the State Russian Museum features 300 items in 10 distinct galleries, ranging from artwork, paintings, porcelain, furniture and jewelry. “This is 800 years of Russian history and culture,” said Oathout. “The State Russian Museum is considered the best museum in that country, and we are thrilled to have this remarkable exhibit at FIM.” The exhibit spans many themes including religious culture, the life of the Czars, a comparison of the life of noblemen and peasants, and other cultural elements such as the ballet. Russian Odyssey opens November 1, 2003 with a black tie gala and remains on display through April 4, 2004.
Baseball As America features more than 500 treasures from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. There are baseball “firsts” like the first ball pitched by Cy Young in the first World Series in 1903; historic photographs and artifacts from Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, and a host of other heroes; baseball nostalgia of all kinds; and interactive displays where visitors can heft a bat and learn how to throw a curve.
Only at Florida International Museum can you see an exclusive selection of objects from the Hall of Fame that illustrate the history of baseball in Tampa Bay. “Tampa Bay and especially St. Petersburg have baseball roots dating back to 1914 when the St. Louis Browns arrived for Spring Training,” said Oathout. FIM is one of only ten sites chosen to host this exhibition. Baseball As America is on display from December 13, 2003 through March 6, 2004. To celebrate the opening of Baseball As America, FIM will be transformed into a ballpark on Friday, December 12, 2003 as the museum will host a casual fun-filled Baseball Celebration.
The national tour of Baseball As America is sponsored by
Ernst & Young.
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The Florida International Museum is a non-profit educational institution supported, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Florida Arts Council, State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the City of St. Petersburg. Other major sponsors include Progress Energy, Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, and St. Petersburg Times.