Looking forward into the new year, we can also gain a new perspective reflecting back in time through the ranging offerings at the Collier Museums’ five community museums. Here are select offerings (with a creative opportunity for local tweens and teens) for zooming in telescopically on the region. (For a full menu of Collier Museums programs through the spring: Collier Museums)
Wind Across the Everglades at Museum of the Everglades
The classic film Wind Across the Everglades tells the story of an Audubon warden battling outlaw plume hunters—a dark chapter in the region’s history—that was filmed on location in Everglades City in 1957 and captures the backcountry’s natural beauty. According to the Collier Museums, the film “is considered by many to be the first major motion picture addressing environmental and conservation themes.” The cast includes Burl Ives, Gypsy Rose Lee, Christopher Plummer in his first starring role, Emmett Kelly, and Peter Faulk, and was written by and directed by the Academy Award-winning Budd Schulberg. It was produced by his brother, Stuart Schulberg, whose son–filmmaker and environmental advocate K.C. Schulberg (featured in the October 2020 issue of Naples Illustrated)—lives in Naples and is executive director of the nonprofit Calusa Waterkeeper. Wind Across the Everglades also features cameos by local townsfolk, including legendary ‘gladesman Lauren “Totch” Brown.
Learn more about this fascinating cinematic aspect of Collier County’s history through two free events offered through the Museum of the Everglades, 105 West Broadway, Everglades City.
Explore the rich, behind-the-scenes stories of the film’s creation through historic photos and colorful anecdotes during the Third Thursday Lecture Series: The Making of Wind Across the Everglades on January 21 at 2 p.m. The talk will be presented by Thomas Lockyear, museum manager, who has done extensive archival research and interviews and curated an exhibition on the film two years ago. “It’s a fascinating story,” Lockyear says. When original co-director Nicholas Ray was fired during production, the Schulberg team and actors “did amazing work considering they were hamstrung in the process,” he notes. Seating is limited and masks are required. Digital overflow via Zoom or Facebook live will be available. RSVP at colliermuseums.com or 239-252-8476.
Watch this cinematic gem, released in 1958, on the big screen on January 29 at 6 p.m. at the museum, where it will be shown outside, under the stars, lending a “Wind” ambiance. The film will be introduced by historian and “Everglades Evangelist” Cesar Becerra, who knew Budd Schulberg and will delve into production highlights. Attendees should bring their own folding lawn or beach chairs.
Forgotten Florida: Tween and Teen Photo Contest at Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch
The Farm Security Administration developed and administered aid to farmers and farmworkers during the Great Depression. “Forgotten Florida: Photos from the Farm Security Administration”–on display at the Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch from January 19 through April 19–shows how the Depression affected Florida’s diverse population of sharecroppers, transient agricultural workers, and African Americans. It also illuminates the contrast in lifestyles of residents of coastal tourist camps, wealthy winter visitors, and the middle class.
In conjunction with “Forgotten Florida,” the Immokalee Pioneer Museum, located at 1215 Roberts Avenue West in Immokalee, is holding a photo contest for young Collier County residents in grades 6 to 12. Their charge: to photo-document life today in their Collier community. Selected photos will be included in the exhibit and the top three come with prizes: First Place – iPad Mini; Second Place – iPad; People’s Choice Award – AirPods.
January 19 at midnight – Entry deadline
February 9 – Final 12 images unveiled
February 9-February 26 – Voting for People’s Choice Award
February 27 – Presentations and awards
Find examples, photo criteria, and submission instructions at colliermuseums.com.