A Whole New World: The Kinsey Collection

"The Walls" from the Kinsey Collection

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moisture damage, some items in the exhibit are facsimiles.  

Innovative Disney “Imagineers” teamed to create a gallery experience consistent with attractions throughout the resort’s multiple theme parts. Their daunting task was to build an interactive exhibit that brings African American history to life. Anthony Sparks, M.A. served as the writer/consultant for the project. For more than four months, the University of Southern California scholar and former stage actor (“Stomp”) worked to perfect the exhibit. “The big question was how to make a gallery kid-friendly?” he explained. “My goals were simple: appeal to families, all ages, and create something that worked on many levels.”

The project further involved condensing vast material to tell a cohesive story that was not all inclusive but gave a sense of the African American experience and five tenets of The Kinsey Collection: Hope, Belief, Courage, Heritage, and Imagination. Lanterns, symbolic of the freedom path, were given narrative voice by Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg. Additional A-list celebrities lending their sound were Chaundra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr. (Grey’s Anatomy), Kerry Washington (Scandal), ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer, and others.

For Kinsey and wife Shirley, the realization of their cultural inheritance is an overwhelming achievement and accomplishment. “It now has a voice, a name, a personality,” offered Kinsey.

The Kinsey Family serves as a formidable example of African American resilience and strength. The Florida A&M University alums met during the civil rights movement and remain married 40 years later.  Both are Xerox Corporation retirees who mastered the  saving money in their early lives together. The dividends have allowed them to travel more than 91 countries and help raise more than $22 million dollars to support HBCU’s. Their son Khalil currently serves as general manager of operations for The Kinsey Collection. While in grade-school, he exhibited an inquisitive nature regarding his family history. Both parents eagerly addressed his cultural thirst. The rest is Kinsey history.

Penny Dickerson is a Florida-based independent journalist. She is a frequent contributor to the Florida Courier, Florida Times-Union and other regional and national publications. Her work can be viewed at pennydickersonwrites.com.