A COLONY OF MANY COLORS – Tapestry: The Cultural Threads of First America

Tapestry_AllTapestry: The Cultural Threads of First AmericaTapestry: The Cultural Threads of First America is a signature St. Augustine 450th Commemoration exhibition that shares the story of how three intertwining cultures – Hispanics, Africans and Native Americans – came together to form the foundation of the American culture and create the blended society of today’s St. Augustine. The exhibition debuts during St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary year.

The fusion of culture began in St. Augustine in 1565 when Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés arrived with 800 colonists to settle the New World in the name of Spain. It was an ambitious attempt at colonization, one that would become the foundation for the most lasting European settlement in the United States. The newly arrived colonists were Spanish and Africans. When they stepped off the ship onto the soils of the first permanent American colony, they became Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans for the first time. This was the beginning of both the Latin-American and African-American experiences in the New World. The colonists survived because Native Americans at the Timucuan Indian village of Seloy allowed them to occupy and modify Indian structures, even digging a moat around a council house for fortification. The intermingling of Native Americans, Hispanics and Africans was the very beginning of the diverse American culture, one that characterizes our nation today.

Beyond exploring St. Augustine’s historical roots, Tapestry showcases the people who have shaped the city’s cultural landscape over four and a half centuries. The histories and contemporary cultural expressions of the Menorcans, Greeks, British and others who are part of St. Augustine’s rich cultural fabric are woven into the exhibition.

Both docent-led tours and group tours are available to view the Tapestry exhibition. Docent-led tours are available daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are not needed for docent-led tours. Group tours are for 10 or more people. Reservations are needed for group tours. Please contact Nikole Alvarez at 904.209.4255 or [email protected] to schedule a group tour.

The exhibition anchors a citywide passport program that connects visitors, residents and students with important historical sites and programs throughout St. Augustine and St. Johns County. “The passport program was designed to enhance and extend the visitor experience,” said Dana Ste.Claire, director of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration. “Our goal is for exhibition visitors to explore St. Augustine and St. Johns County beyond the walls of the 4,000-square-foot Tapestry exhibition.”

The Tapestry Passport Program provides each exhibition guest with a free 48-page, full-color keepsake passport, which highlights 35 important sites, historic markers and programs throughout St. Johns County. It includes a photograph of each destination as well as the distance from the Tapestry exhibition, days and hours of operation, admission, address and a brief overview. Passport stamps are available at many of the locations.