There was excited chatter on Friday morning as the Gulf County seniors exited the bus in a single file line.
They had driven about an hour to Florida State University’s Panama City campus for the opening of their new exhibit, and they were eager to get inside so they could look around.
The idea came from Robert Farmer, the Gulf County Senior Citizens Association’s Port St. Joe site manager, and his daughter, Tammetrius Farmer, an alumni and development coordinator at FSU Panama City.
“We thought it would be nice for everyone to be out and about,” Robert Farmer said. “Sometimes when you get older, it can be difficult for you to come to things like this on your own.”
Robert Farmer and other workers from the GCSCA had driven from Port St. Joe to Wewahitchka to collect all of the county’s seniors early that morning. Then, he had driven them down to Panama City together to meet up with some of the seniors from the Bay County Senior Citizens Association.
The exhibit, the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection, shares stories of Black Americans’ resilience, creativity and achievement from 1595 to the present through art, manuscripts, rare books and documents.
“The story is not a Black story; it’s an American story,” said Bernard Kinsey, a Florida native whose collection with his wife, Shirley, spans more than 40 years. “We are really proud of our work and believe it’s the kind of work America needs right now.”
The collection will be on display at FSU Panama City until July 17.
The seniors made their way through the exhibit together, listening intently as Kinsey explained each piece.
Then, as the event drew to a close, they rendez-voused outside to discuss their upcoming lunch plans.
The seniors ate lunch in Panama City before hopping on the bus back to Gulf County. Robert Farmer said the outing had been a huge success.
“We hope to be able to do more things like this in the future,” he said.