The African American Cultural Society, Florida’s premiere cultural institution, recently hosted a soft opening for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s (SITES) new bilingual (Spanish/English) exhibition – “¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas.” The exhibition went on view Sunday, November 26 and will run through February 25, 2024, at The African American Cultural Center & Museum of Florida, 4422 US 1 Highway, Palm Coast, FL. The event was attended by Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin, Roman Marrero, Hispanic American Cultural Society Executive Director; Joseph Matthews, AACS Director of Curatorial Affairs, Meshella Woods, AACS Vice President.
Reviewing the history of the game and highlighting the positive trends towards racial inclusion overtime is the focus of AACS accented exhibition accompanying The Smithsonian traveling exhibit. Entitled “The Tradition of Baseball in America: Flagler County Unite Around the Games” the local exhibition provides an opportunity to highlight the Negro League, baseball Dominican ties, while uplifting other ethnicities, and celebrating Flagler County local communities overall love for the game. Partnering with the AACS are the Hispanic American Cultural Society, the African American Entrepreneurs Association, the Babe Ruth Baseball League, and the Flagler County Schools. In addition, the exhibit is partially supported by grants from the City of Palm Coast and the Flagler Tourism Development Office (visitFlagler.com).
A complementary local exhibit is being developed with purchased artifacts and art provided by AACS student intern Savannah Ryan. Ryan who is majoring in Curatorial studies at the University of Central Florida, recently curated the Summer of 1969 Exhibit which was on display at African American Cultural Center and Museum of Florida throughout the summer 2023. Bryanna Ivey, an intern from Daytona College majoring in computer engineering, put her technical skill to work incorporating AI as part of the local exhibit. on Wednesday, December 20, from 5:30 – 8:00, AACS will host a more official grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition “¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los Barrios y las Grandes Ligas.”
“¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los Barrios y las Grandes Ligas” has been made possible through close collaborations with over 30 partners in 14 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico to help bring visibility to Latino community histories through baseball. Smithsonian curators collaborated with partners and local communities across the country to document and preserve baseball stories at the heart of Latino communities.
For more than 65 years, the Smithsonian has been connecting Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history. The Smithsonian’s long-term partnerships with museums, educational organizations, and cultural institutions in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Panama are established and maintained through Smithsonian Affiliations. Together, they share the Smithsonian’s vast resources with millions of people outside Washington, D.C.
The AACS has served Flagler County for over 32 years. Its mission is to “preserve and perpetuate the cultural heritage of the African Diaspora through educational, artistic, intellectual and social activities and services deemed to be in the best interests of the entire community”.