PANAMA CITY, Fla. — In Historic St. Andrews, the Panama City Publishing Company Museum building is in its 100th year, getting ready to reopen after two months of renovation.
“We had the floor replaced because after the hurricane it just started to develop some soft spots,” said the museum’s Executive Director, Michelle Price, on Tuesday.
The floor has been replaced with repurposed wood from the same time period as the original floors. However, as with most other people and places in Panama City and across the Panhandle, Hurricane Michael left its mark.
“Everything was affected and it trickled down to employees and to residents,” said museum volunteer, Nancy Hudson. “It changed our lives forever.”
Hudson is now turning those experiences into something more.
“We’re going to focus on the resilience, and how the people are coming back,” she said.
By October of this year, one of the walls in the museum will be decorated with 10 to 12 panels, which will have first-hand accounts about Hurricane Michael from around the community.
The project is being funded through a grant Hudson applied for and received on behalf of the museum from the Florida Humanities Council. Two of the installation panels will be able to travel to other museums around the state of Florida to educate other communities about the long-term impacts Hurricane Michael has had on the local community.
The exhibit will feature voices from around Panama City; museum leaders are accepting submissions online now through the end of February.
If you’re interested in submitting to the exhibit, click here.
Hudson said she hopes one thing in particular will shine through.
“We’re not to be pitied,” she said. “This is a strong community and I think we just want the world to understand what this has been like.”
She said she hopes the exhibit encourages human connection and healing through remembrance.
“We do what we can to preserve our local history here,” said Price. “That’s just become part of the story.”