Coffee and Conversation Speakers Series Ready to Make Waves in Fall 2021

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on July 27, 2021

As part of the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street Program and Water/Ways exhibit, funded in part by the Florida Humanities, the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum is bringing three amazing scholars to speak on water issues this fall.

Coffee and Conversation Speakers Series Ready to Make Waves in Fall 2021

On Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 7:00pm, Dr. Steven Noll will present “Florida Water Stories.” Dr. Noll is a one-of-a-kind teacher with an unbridled enthusiasm for history and a passion for helping students find their way at the University of Florida. He joined the University of Florida Department of History in 1992 and teaches both American History survey courses, as well as courses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the history of disability in America, and Florida history. Dr. Noll is also the lead scholar for the Florida Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street Traveling Exhibition, which brought the Water/Ways exhibition to the state of Florida.

In this program, the energetic Dr. Noll will explore Florida’s long and difficult relationship with water, its attempts to turn land into water and water into land, and the contentious issues involving the Everglades, the Ocklawaha River, political battles with Alabama and Georgia, and the potential impact of sea-level rise.

Dr. Noll will deliver his presentation by Zoom. Guests may watch from home on the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum YouTube channel or attend a special live screening of the program at the museum, located at 1 Courthouse Square, Inverness, FL. The galleries, including the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit, will be open for after-hours viewing from 5:00pm until the end of the program at 8:30pm.

On Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 2:00pm, Dr. Victoria Machado will speak on “Sacred Waters: The Protection of Florida’s Fluid Landscapes,” in partnership with Keep Citrus County Beautiful’s annual Save Our Waters Week programs. Her presentation will explore efforts to restore Florida’s waterways and investigate the motivations of environmentalists who love and advocate for these water bodies. By focusing on issues related to springs and the Everglades, the presenter will dive into the conversations that arise when Floridians view water as essential to their quality of life.

On Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 7:00pm, author Lu Vickers will share her research on a topic of local significance: “Weeki Wachee Springs: City of Mermaids.” Lu Vickers has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for fiction for excerpts for a novel in progress. She has also been the recipient of two Florida Book awards and three Florida Individual Artist Fellowships for fiction. In addition to writing “Remembering Paradise Park” (with C. Graham), she has written the novel “Breathing Underwater” and three other Florida history books: “Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids,” “Cypress Gardens, America’s Tropical Wonderland,” and “Weeki Wachee, Thirty Years of Underwater Photography” with Bonnie Georgiadis.

This program will cover the fascinating history of Weeki Wachee Springs through vintage photographs of the mermaids, from their earliest days performing silent ballets to the heyday when ABC built them a million-dollar theater. When Newt Perry sank a theater into the edge of the spring in 1947, he had no idea his mermaids would become world-famous Florida icons.

All programs are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Guests can join in-person at the museum or watch from the comfort of home on the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum YouTube channel. Sign up at or call (352) 341-6428 for more information.



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