Highlands Hammock State Park is celebrating International Museum Day by honoring an artist whose ability to “time travel” resulted in amazing pieces of art. If you’re wondering why the Hammock would celebrate museum day, swing by the park and visit their Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. Park entry fees of $6.00 per vehicle, up to 8 people, and $4.00 per single occupant vehicle, apply.
Museums initiate cultural exchange, enrich society and develop understanding, cooperation and peace among people. This is why International Museum Day is celebrated every May, on or around the 18th. As an ode to Florida’s past, Rangers at the Hammock are promoting the life and work of artist, Charles R. Knight, who painted a mural for the Sebring Post office in 1941 titled, “Prehistoric Life in Florida.” Knight produced the oil on canvas, depicting several saber toothed cats underneath what appears to be an ancient oak tree with mammoths in the background, on commission under the Section of Fine Arts and Works Progress Administration. “Prehistoric Life in Florida” is now on permanent display in the Sebring Public Library.
Charles R. Knight was born in New York on October 12, 1874 and at age 15 he attended classes at the Metropolitan Art School. When he was just 20 years old, the head taxidermist of the American Museum of Natural History asked Charles if he would use his knowledge and skill to recreate a fossil animal. The result made Charles very popular for similar assignments. He studied live animals at the Central Park Zoo, fossils, anatomy and physiology to hone his abilities. His models and murals can be found in some of the most prestigious institutions such as the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, among many others.
The Hammock is including the Sebring Library into their celebration plans. On Tuesday, May 14 beginning at 11AM, the curator of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum, David Schmidt, will host an informal discussion on the mural hanging in the library. May 18, Darrel Smith will be hosting “The Best of Times, Worst of times” Living History Program at the CCC Museum in Highlands Hammock State Park from 10AM- 11AM. Also on May 18, David Schmidt will host “Charles R. Knight: The Artist who saw Through Time” program. There will be two showings of this presentation at the CCC museum, Noon and 7PM, park fees are waived after 6PM. To complete the International Museum Day circuit, on Tuesday, May 21, beginning at 11AM, David Schmidt will visit the library again for an informal discussion pertaining to the mural painted by Charles R. Knight.
If you’d like to “bone” up on your prehistory, check out the “560” call numbers in the nonfiction section at the library- that is the Dewey Decimal classification for fossils and prehistory. Swing by the Sebring Public Library anytime to view the mural “Prehistoric Life in Florida” and chat with David Schmidt on May 14 or May 21. Any of the Heartland Library Cooperative Branches can assist you in finding more information about Prehistory, fossils, or Charles R. Knight.