By: Jen Russon
Before being the city with it all in the sun, Coral Springs was a rider’s paradise – open fields as far as the eye can see and with less than a third of the population it now has.
âIn the early 1970s, no one wanted to live here. They thought it was in the middle of nowhere. Fifty-eight years later, look at how we’ve grown, âsaid Kelli Matonak.
Matonak is the historian and marketing coordinator of the Coral Springs History Museum located at 10000 NW 29th St and can recite collage of old newspaper clippings covering a wall, almost word for word.
The museum opened in 1977, closed for repairs in 2005, and again in 2019. They were also closed during the pandemic.
On Thursday, Matonak was on hand to offer an exclusive tour of the renovated space and a first look at a cutting-edge new exhibit designed by Juliana Newman and Claudia Gonzalez.
The duo created “Sunny,” a personalized and convenient touchscreen that functions as a guide – or a guide – in a world-class museum.
Visitors tap the screen to play trivia games and access detailed maps of every neighborhood in the city, as they appeared in the decades from the 1950s to the 2020s.
They can also learn all about the city namesakes for well-known schools and roads. There’s even a coloring book for younger visitors, inviting them to paint scenes of ancient Coral Springs with their fingertips.
âWe wanted to create an easy-to-use interactive experience for people of all ages – something very intuitive,â said Gonzalez, videographer and UI UX designer.
Newman, a graphic designer, pieced together Polaroids of the city’s founders; JP Taravella, James S. Hunt and Lewis Mullins and animated them while reading their contributions to the city.
âWe really can’t wait for residents to come and help us celebrate our 58th birthday on July 10,â said Matonak, adding that she would be there to give personal tours.
She knows that kids in grades three and up will truly enjoy the museum’s authentic mailroom and the activities she has personally designed.
âWe touch on the story of the Lyons family and how they used to sell green beans,â she said, highlighting the novelty peas in a pod key chains that go home with the youngsters. .
Matonak said that it is the teenagers and students of the story who will want to learn as much as possible about their city, which was little more than a covered bridge, Thunderbird Villas and the Westinghouse Home Center in 1964.
Models of the city’s oldest communities await under glass for visitors to admire. One of the exhibits consists of original fixtures from the First Town Hall, including its bank safe.
An encyclopedia in regards to Coral Springs, Matonak said on the town’s birthday, there will be storytellers recreating the town of yesteryear as they sit on the iconic white fences that were ubiquitous in Coral Springs. .
But that’s not all.
âOf course there will also be horses and ice cream. This is Coral Springs we’re talking about, âshe said.
A groundbreaking ceremony is also planned for the 58th anniversary celebration on Saturday July 10 at 10 a.m. Until then, museum opening hours are by appointment only.
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Jen Russon has been a writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, writer and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.