About the Virtual Tour

Welcome to the Weedon Island Virtual Tour of Artifacts! This special Virtual Tour of Artifacts exhibit is an initiative of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Florida Power, the Ah Tah Thi Ki Seminole Tribal Museum, the Haskell Indian Nations University, University of South Florida, University of Florida and many other professionals and organizations.

Overview: A special program of student cultural interpretation led by Martha Kriepe de Montano, Manager, National Museum of the American Indian Resource Center and other staff at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, provided a specialized five-day "Digital Workshop" for Native American students. The "Workshop" engaged the students in a program of digital imaging and interpretation of select Weedon cultural artifacts. The program included 6th and 7th grade students from the Ahfachkee Middle School on the Big Cypress Reservation in south Florida. Graduate students from the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, participated as on-site mentors to the younger students.

On site in Washington, DC and Maryland: Selecting the Artifacts, Digital Imaging and Creation of 3-D Panoramas.

Artifacts Selection
The students traveled to Washington, DC and worked together on site at the Museum Support Center for the National Museum of Natural History in Suitland, Maryland, where the collection of Weedon artifacts is housed. First, Dr. James Krakker of the Museum of Natural History, worked with the students to identify and select artifacts from the larger collection. The history, function and relevance of these artifacts were further reviewed with the students by Mr. Billy Cypress, executive director of the Ah Tah Thi Ki Seminole Tribal Museum in Clewiston, Florida.

Digital imaging and software development
Dr. Mark Christal, from the University of Texas, a specialist in web-based presentations of Native American culture, directed the students for the digital imaging of the artifacts. Dr. Christal then directed the students in development of the 360-degree interactive panoramas of each artifact that afford visitors on site at Weedon Island or online an interactive "tour" of this beautiful collection.

Research and Interpretation
Once the students completed the digital imaging and preparation of the panoramas, they relocated to the Cultural Resource Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to research and prepare the historic interpretations that are presented within this exhibit. These interpretations are personal to each student and reflect their thoughts and feelings about each artifact. Staff from the National Museum of the American Indian provided direction for the interpretive research. Once completed, the students' interpretive materials were submitted to Dr. Brent Weisman, of the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida and to Pinellas County staff for additional review and interpretive support.

The Virtual Tour of Artifacts
The results of this very special partnership for interpretation of Native American culture are presented in this exhibit. We invite you to take a Virtual Tour of Florida's Native American culture and history. Please enjoy the Tour!