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Politics

Tarpon Springs Audio Walking Tour Focuses on Greektown

December 24, 2016

TARPON SPRINGS, FL – The Greek-American experience in the City of Tarpon Springs, FL will be the highlight of an audio walking tour made possible through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council (FHC).

The city has, in fact, received two $5,000 grants from FHC for two projects to be completed in 2017. Under the guidance of the FHC, the Florida Stories Community Audio Walking Tours initiative supports the creation of cultural, historical, and architectural walking tours for communities across the state of Florida. The goals of this initiative include exploring the history and heritage of Florida communities while creating a sustainable cultural tourist product. The audio tours will be available to anyone through an app that can be downloaded to phones or other devices.

The focus of the Tarpon Springs audio tour will be on the Greektown Historic district which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 as Florida’s first official Traditional Cultural Property. The District, which includes hundreds of buildings and a dozen sponge boats, preserves a strong ethnic and seafaring character. Since 1905, when Greeks first arrived in large numbers, the community has made significant efforts to hold onto its traditional culture, extensive Greek infrastructure, and as the only Greek-American community based on the sponge industry.

This unique community, many of whom hail from the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos, known throughout the world for its sponge divers and its many fascinating stories, will now be more accessible through the support of the FHC grant for the walking tour project. Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek-Americans of any U.S. city; approximately 10.4% of the population.

The Way We Worked is a Museum on Main Street (MoMS) exhibition created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and made available through a grant from the FHC. The Way We Worked was adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives. It explores how work became such a vital force in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibition utilizes material from the Archives’ rich collections to share this remarkable story.

The Way We Worked will be presented in the Center for Gulf Coast Folklife Gallery at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center in October and November 2017. To enhance the local visitors’ experience of the exhibition, the FHC grant will also allow the City of Tarpon Springs to curate a small locally-based exhibit along with the presentation of a series of public programs. More information is available by contacting Tina Bucuvalas at tarponspringsareahistoricalsociety.org.

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