Local family's collection of Seminole art on display at the Orlando Museum of Art

The Reeves family, of Winter Park, is showcasing their collection that will be on display until July 8.

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  • | 10:18 a.m. March 29, 2018
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Walking around the Orlando Museum of art is local Stockton Reeves.

There’s almost a frantic pace to his step as he makes his way around the exhibit. His eyes are transfixed on the old photographs and handmade artifacts.

The way he talks about each object is filled with a tone of wonder, as if getting to take in the art and culture for the first time.

But the fact is, the works of Seminole art and culture currently on display at the museum are not new to him at all — in fact, he grew up with all of them.

“My brother and I grew up with this stuff in the house,” Reeves said with a  smile. “I grew up in a museum — literally grew up in a museum.”

The exhibit, Enduring Beauty: Seminole Art & Culture, which will be on display until July 8, is chock full of beautiful and colorful artifacts that come from the collection of I.S.K. Reeves V and Sara Reeves — Stockton’s parents.

With 96 pieces in the halls of the museum, this is the first exhibit in which the Reeves’ Seminole artifacts have been put together for public viewing.

Featuring items from the pre-contact period, and from 1820 to the present, the exhibit includes a range of items, including: big shirts, dresses, dolls, masks, photographs, and other artifacts — all of which were collected over the span of more than 45 years.

The collection was all started by I.S.K. years ago. The former president of the Central Florida Archeological and Anthropological Association has a long background in Native American culture and history.

Although Reeves isn’t quite sure where his dad picked up on this thorough love for Native American artifacts, Reeves believes it had something to do with growing up the son of a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. 

As a Navy brat, I.S.K. grew up traveling the world — living in places such as Hawaii and Egypt.

“The archaeology of Egypt, going out on the outriggers with the natives hunting big tuna … I would think growing up in a lot of different environments, (and) growing up in a lot of different places around the world was probably the seed,” Reeves said. 

From there, I.S.K. became obsessed with finding and researching anything and everything he could about the Native American culture in the United States.

“From the time I was 8 until the time I graduated high school, a lot of my weekends were spent doing archaeological excavations of Timucuan habitation mounds down in Osceola County — mostly where the big developments are now,” Reeves said. “Sometimes — literally — we were a step ahead of the bulldozers to try and save that history before development came in.”

It was out there in those fields where Reeves learned how to drive a car — and also where he learned how to properly search and collect artifacts without damaging them.

Although this specific exhibit houses a collection of Seminole art, the Reeves’ overall includes items from different tribes from all over the country.

There is something special about the pieces that celebrate the Seminole people, and as a Floridian, Reeves said he hopes those who visit the exhibit will walk away with an experience that can truly inform them about Florida’s truest locals.

“To me, it’s an amazing thing, because if you see these pieces of art and these artifacts and these lithographs, it gives people a deeper understanding of the Seminole tribe and their importance, their history and their place in Florida,” Reeves said. “I don’t think a lot of people know, because I lot of Floridians weren’t born here. … I think it’s a largely unknown, but critically important piece of Florida history.”