Gulf Beaches Historical Museum/St. Pete Beach Public Library Partnership

In 2017, the Judy Genshaft Honors College launched a partnership with the St. Pete Beach Public Library and the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, a local history museum housed in a 100-year-old structure just one block from the Gulf of Mexico. The museum's collection is threatened by sea level rise and extreme weather events, but Honors College students have stepped in to assist this vulnerable institution.

Through a capstone course now based out of the St. Petersburg campus, students are working to digitize the most significant items in the museum's collection and safely store the digital files on the Pinellas Memory Project, an online archive run by the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative that is free and accessible to researchers and the general public.

With this partnership, students also gain hands-on experience recording oral histories, producing documentary photography, digitizing visual and print artifacts, cataloguing and creating historical archives, and developing physical and digital exhibits for the museum. Outstanding student work on this project has been lauded by the Tampa Bay Library Consortium and the mayor of St. Pete Beach, and the collaboration has been recognized with the SirsiDynix “Power of Libraries” award.