SUMMARY HISTORY OF REACTIVATED SPANISH MILITARY HOSPITAL EXHIBIT
This report presents a brief chronology documenting the
reactivation of the Spanish Military Hospital exhibit, pertinent
fiscal data, and addresses some collateral considerations.
1989 October Kate Dupes, on behalf of Florida National Guard
Historical Foundation, Inc., addresses SAAFI workshop held
at Marriott Sawgrass Resort with idea of re-instituting
Military Hospital exhibit as alternative to proposed sale of
building; SAAFI board decides not to entertain any offers
for purchase until a determination is made about proposal
1990 January SAAFI approves trial re-opening of Spanish
Military Hospital for a period of one year with a maximum
of $15,000 contribution. K. Dupes will coordinate
organization of project, seek grants. SAAFI will control
day-to-day operation with all revenues and expenses to be
handled by SAAFI. Deputy director assigned to draft "letter
of understanding" with K. Dupes. Dupes announces opening
anticipated for March 1990.
1990 May E. Newton places K. Dupes entirely in charge of
project; HSAPB staff to assist
1990 June E. Newton tells K. Dupes that Hospital will have to
rely on volunteers to stay open; Hospital volunteer group
should be a separate organization.
K. Dupes reports to SAAFI that opening scheduled for July
Documentation regarding the Hospital after the opening, except
that produced by the accounting branch, is absent from HSAPB's
It should be noted that there was no budget presented to the
SAAFI board. The figure of $15,000 that was determined to be
adequate for support was based upon K. Dupes' "best guess" that
HSAPB/SAAFI would need to contribute $8-, or $9-, or possibly
$10,000 a year "for maintenance, paint, utilities" and SAAFI
board allotted 50% more.
While K. Dupes drastically "underguestimated" the cost of
utilities (approximately $3000 actually paid for a one-year
period), the necessity of paying for staffing the Spanish
Military Hospital drove HSAPB's out-of-pocket expenditures for
that exhibit far beyond the originally approved $15,000.
Staffing by volunteers never became a reality, and HSAPB paid for
staffing. In May 1991 the cash register (required by State
accounting procedures) was removed from the Hospital because the
charge for the machine exceeded admissions. Admission became
free, with donations solicited. In December 1991, for example,
donation revenues averaged $.26 per visitor.
For the eight months that have elapsed in the current fiscal year
cumulative attendance is 20,786. Expenses (wages, utilities, and
accounting costs) equal $11,300, admission in the form of
donations, $4600. Thus revenues provided 39% of the expense of
the Hospital; the agency's budget absorbed a 61% loss. On a
daily basis, income from the Hospital is $19; expenditures, $47,
donation less than a quarter per visitor.
Given the present budget situation for the Stlate of Florida, can
HSAPB afford to expend such funds on the Hospital? An additional
consideration is the potential for revenue from rental of the
Military Hospital building, estimated to generate $12,000 to
If the Board should decide to close the hospital, the Board also
needs to consider the fate of the collections on loan and of the
exhibit itself. A large majority of the artifacts used in the
Hospital exhibit are not part of HSAPB's collection, but are
loaned from other state agencies or private institutions. The
reproductions in the exhibit were purchased from Colonial
Williamsburg are part of HSAPB's inventory.
It has been suggested that a medical exhibit could be
incorporated in the Spanish Quarter (SQ). This matter needs to
O/ be assessed concerning such matters as: whether the SQ would be
\ a proper forum; how well it would fit with the SQ's current
interpretation; what kind(s) of interpretation would be involved;
where would it be located; what would be the interpretive staff
and maintenance requirements.
The Board will also need to address use of the building at 3
Aviles Street, currently the site of the Spanish Military
Hospital exhibit, if said exhibit is closed or relocated.
42/_ Susan R. Parker
March 17, 1992