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Florida Then and Now

A View from the School

About the Project

This project documents change in Florida cities, towns, communities and landscapes from a student perspective. Art teacher Polly Werner conducted the pilot project with her third grade class at Dr. N. H. Jones Elementary School in Ocala, Florida.

The students researched old photographs of their communities using resources from the Florida Photographic Collection, local historical societies, or the student's own family photos. The students then revisited the locations or themes of those historic photographs and re-photographed them as they appear today. The then-and-now photographs are displayed along with short essays by the students.

Students as Historians

The idea for this project came out of the realization that the perspectives of children and young adults are often missing from the permanent records of state and national archives.

At the same time, this project helps students make a personal connection to the history of the state of Florida and of their communities. The abstract concept of change over time becomes personally relevant, and students take an active role in interpreting those changes. We hope this project will serve as a model for similar projects across Florida.

The View from the School project supports the Sunshine State Standards in Visual Arts, Language Arts, and Social Studies.