HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE PRESERVATION BOARD
July 16, 1984
TO: Norma Lockwood, Bill Adams, Hector Miron, Amy Bushnell, Susan Clark,
.Cookie O'Brien, Jimmy Smith, Gayle Prevatt
FROM: Bob Steinbach 3'S
SUBJECT: De Mesa House Interpretative Proposal
At the June 5 meeting we discussed various specific topics which we felt we
could address using the Sanchez family as a unifying factor. This included the
maritime industry, the treasury, citrus and other fruit industries, kitchen and
household management, kinship, leisure activities, slavery, ethnic composition
of the town, and the history and evolution of the house. All of these, with the
exception of the evolution of the house, would be targeted on the 1790-1810
period. These topics would be addressed through the use of furnished rooms and
contemporary museum exhibit techniques. While discussing this approach, several
problems became apparent and our attempts to reconcile them led to the development
of a second option, which is the subject of today's meeting.
The problems we encountered are as follows:
1) The material culture of the Sanchez era would be little different than
that available 20 years later. Therefore, furnished rooms of that
time would closely approximate what we have now.
2) The subjects suggested, with some exceptions, have limited general
3) It does not address the major focus of the rest of the museum, i.e,
the First Spanish Period.
4) It would be difficult to design as a self-guided facility.
We would propose, then, that the De Mesa House be considered more in an adap-
tive use mode, with less emphasis placed on its present configuration as a part of
the interpretative theme.
Major emphasis would be placed on the latter part of the First Spanish Period,
which is the primary focus of SanAgustin Antiguo.
The exhibits would continue to be a mix of furnished rooms and contemporary
museum exhibits. Under this concept, however, there would be period rooms dedi-
cated to each of the major contributors, De Mesa, Stout, and Sanchez; with the
balance of the space used for thematic exhibits dealing with First Spanish Period
This approach will allow us to select topics which we feel have broader appeal
and would be helpful in attracting visitors to our museum. Our assessment of the
audience indicates that the topics must be interesting and exciting, entertaining
and enjoyable, and not too intellectually demanding. Further, they should contain
as many original objects as possible and have a minimum of text.
Additional information in the form of books and other printed material would be
available to the visitor at the museum shop next door.
A preliminary walk-through of the building follows:
Orientation Panel exhibits which will explain what the visitor is
about to see. A plan of the building with the location of various
exhibits will be included.
Evolution of the De Mesa House Scale models and other graphics will
demonstrate how the house grew and changed through time, as well as
provide an overview of the major historical periods associated with
Pirates Explanation of trade and privateering in Spanish St. Augustine.
Weapons Difference in style and type as a reflection of social status
and class distinction.
Sunken Treasure Explanation of flota concept and trade with the Far
East via the Manila galleon.
De Mesa First Spanish Period furnished room Biographical information
on De Mesa. Perhaps more?
Archaeology Artifacts will be used to demonstrate trade relations,
socio-economic status, and possibly, excavation techniques.
Stout British Period room Biographical information on Stout, and
Sanchez Second Spanish Period room Biographical information on
Sanchez, and more?
Indians Role various groups played in history of St. Augustine.
Service Room Curatorial and custodial supplies and equipment.
Other Ethnic Groups Spaniards, Creoles, Blacks, Anglos, same as
would invite your comments, suggestions, and criticisms to this proposal.