Epcot Expands Exhibit Celebrating African-American History

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 20, 2014 – As many in the United States focus on African-American heritage during Black History Month, Walt Disney Imagineers are preparing to expand an exhibit that pays homage to African Americans who helped build and transform a nation.

On display at Epcot, ”Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” opened in 2013 and focuses on American stories of determination and courage through the art and artifacts. Walt Disney Imagineers, along with philanthropists Bernard, Shirley and Khalil Kinsey, have begun to add several new artifacts and display cases to the popular cultural exhibit.

“The Kinsey Collection shares the powerful and previously untold stories of those who dared to dream,” said Erin Youngs, vice president of Epcot. “Representing more than 400 years of African-American achievement and history, the Kinsey Collection showcases the best of the American spirit with a nod to ingenuity and innovation. We are delighted to expand the exhibit and bring even more of these treasures to Epcot guests.”

Themed to hope, belief, courage, imagination and heritage, the exhibit provides empowering stories of American history from voices that are not commonly seen or heard. Art and artifacts pay homage to African Americans who helped build and transform a nation. Their stories of determination and courage, from the nation’s early days to the present, are at the heart of the exhibit.

New objects joining the exhibit this spring include:

    • Noon Wash by artist Jonathan Green - Passionate about promoting cross-cultural fine art, Green reflects an inherent sense of history and place as he shares the story of the southern experience. His work with acrylic and oil paints reflect the hope of African Americans throughout history. A number of his works are inspired by his upbringing in the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina.
    • Slave Songs of the United States - Published in 1867, this original collection of African-American music was the first of its kind. Northern abolitionists William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware and Lucy McKim Garrison collected 136 songs from the slaves of Southern plantations, phonetically recording them as they heard them, in an effort to preserve the unique and powerful art form.
    • Tintype Photographs - Popularized in the mid-1850s, tintypes were easier to produce than previous methods and made photographs accessible to more people. Though their names have been lost to history, the subjects of the tintype portraits included in the exhibit continue to share their stories of courage.
    • Carte de Visite - Following a similar printing process as tintypes, carte de visite photographs were easier and more economical to produce, with the image printed on a high quality paper. The carte de visite photographs being added to the Courage portion of the exhibit feature African-American soldiers from both sides of the Civil War.

The Kinsey family’s private collection features rare art, documents, books and artifacts and has been displayed throughout the U.S., including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.