This is a personal post-FUN Show update from Ben Costello, 1715 Fleet Society.
After attending the FUN Show, I spent several weeks traveling around the state of Florida. I met and interviewed people associated with the discovery and preservation of coins and artifacts from the 1715 Fleet. I was a pleasure to meet Jim Sinclair of the Professional Marine Explorers Society and John de Bry of Center for Historical Archaeology. It was a privilege to finally meet Dr. Gene Lyon, well known author and Fleet researcher, as well as John Jones and Rex Stocker, both Real 8 members. Tom Wagner, a son of Kip Wagner (1906 – 1972) was instrumental in the formation of the team that later became the Real Eight Company and one of the greatest salvage groups that ever explored the 1715 Fleet wrecks. He ... More, and Captain John Wilson were gracious enough to come to one of our get-togethers.
I had the opportunity to visit several museums including Pat Croce’s Pirate Museum in St. Augustine Florida and the McClarty Museum in Sebastian Florida. On my way home I stopped in Tallahassee and spent a day at the Museum of Florida History. There I was able to meet with Jeana Brunson, Ph.D., Museum Director. We had a pleasant visit and she introduced me to Mr. Bruce Graetz, Senior Museum Curator, who offered me his assistance in accessing archival material from the state collection. Mr Graetz also introduced me to Peter Cowdrey, Educator in Residence at the Museum of Florida History. We had an enjoyable discussion and Peter offered to assist me in my Fleet research.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Museum of Florida History and all those people who where so kind and gracious to me during my visit. My trip to Tallahassee also included a visit with Dave Dickel, Florida Division of Historical Resources. Dave has been of great help to the Fleet Society over the past several years. He especially helped me in learning how to access to archival information via the internet.
All in all I believe this trip was very beneficial and many contacts were established. I will be working over the next year to follow up and coordinate many of the things we discussed in Florida. I promise to continue providing new and interesting information regarding the 1715 Fleet and it’s upcoming 300th anniversary.
Below you will find some pictures of our table at the FUN Show. Many Fleet Society products were on display, including shirts and mugs. These products can be seen in detail on our website. Special thanks to Ernie Richards, Phil Flemming, John Pullin and others too numerous to mention who assisted us in making our first FUN Show exhibition a success.