Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: B8-Lot 3
Title: Pan American center
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Pan American center
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: B8-Lot 3
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Creator: TGL
Publication Date: 1975
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
97 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Marin-Hassett House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Pan American Center (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 97 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.895159 x -81.312931
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091357
Volume ID: VID00006
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B8-L3

Full Text


The Pan American Center is devoted to the culture and history

of Latin America, with whom St. Augustine shares a common Hispanic

heritage. The objects in this building represent thousands of years of

Indian tradition, conquered and changed by the invading Spaniards in

the sixteenth century.

The exhibits on the first floor are reminders of the Indian

cultures which developed and flourished in the New World before

the time of Columbus. Items from Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala,

Costa Rica and Peru reveal the artistic and technological achievements

of the peoples who inhabited Latin America so long ago. The ceramic

vessels and figurines display the wonderful ability of Indian artisans

to reproduce life forms and exacting geometric designs with nothing

more than clay and natural paints. The textiles, which are Peruvian--

600-900 years old--tell us much about the richly decorated clothing the

Indians wore. The cotton fabrics and the natural dyes reveal much about

pre-historic agriculture. These textiles tell us also of the great skill

attained by these craftsmen, for the pieces are carefully woven or

crocheted. Furthermore, stone and metal were cut and shaped into

forms which suggest objects of worship or popular motifs of adornment.

This collection of pre-Columbian art can give only a brief

glimpse of the complex and varied social organizations which existed

in Latin America long before Europeans set foot in the New World.

The second floor contains objects from eighteenth and nine-

teenth-century Latin America. The Spaniards changed Indian culture

to such an extent that the designs and motifs seen on the first floor all

but vanished from the work of Indian artisans under Spanish rule.

Religion, which played such an important role in Spanish life, is

mirrored in the carved saints and elaborate furnishings on this floor.

Religious themes characterize much of Latin American colonial art

200 years ago. Nevertheless, the native skill and ingenuity of the

Indian craftsmen who shaped these objects pervades every artifact.

Imitating the great European manufactories and studios, Latin

America.developed its own craft systems and produced an enormous

wealth of commercial, domestic and artistic goods. The paintings,

sculpture and furnishings on this floor reflect in a small way, the

great changes wrought by Spanish masters on the new continent.

These modest collections have been assembled by the Historic

St. Augustine Preservation Board through gifts, purchases and loans

in order to give the visitor a view of the world of which St. Augustine

was a part for more than three centuries.

The building is a reconstruction of the Marin-Hassett House.

The floor plan is based on archaeological excavations of the site and

the original hearth may be seen in the west room on the first floor.

There being scant evidence about the above-ground appearance, the

house was reconstructed according to practices employed in house

building in the late eighteenth century. The coquina walls, covered


with plaster, and the heavy wooden joists reflect these colonial techniques.

Period doors were brought from Mexico and can be seen at several

entrances on the first floor. The rejas, street balcony and southern

loggia are architectural elements characteristic of colonial St. Augustine.

Funds for the reconstruction were donated by American corporations

involved in Latin American commerce. The Hispanic Garden was con-

structed through the efforts of state and local garden clubs and a generous

bequest of Mrs. Alfred I. DuPont. The Hispanic Garden is situated in

the original orchard and garden maintained by Father Thomas Hassett in

the late eighteenth century. Highlighting the garden is a bronze statue

of Queen Isabella of Spain, created by Anna Hyatt Huntington whose world-

famous works were often based on Spanish themes.

The Pan-American Center and the Hispanic Garden are intended

to call to the minds of our visitors the Hispanic heritage of St. Augustine,

and provide a brief look at the peoples, cultures and countries to whom

St.Augustine was tied for the greater part of her history.


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