Now On View at Weeks Library: Frank Sinatra Centennial Exhibit

Frank Sinatra cropped

The Weeks Music Library presents a selection of materials from its collections that highlight the profound, multifaceted cultural influence of the artist—perhaps best reflected in the assortment of nicknames including “Chairman of the Board,” “The Voice,” “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” and others by which he is still remembered. This exhibition spans his many memorable musical hits as well as his acting achievements, including his involvement in the Rat Pack, and other influential endeavors throughout his life.

Born December 12, 1915, Francis Albert Sinatra began his career performing as a big band crooner before finding fame as a popular singer and actor, culminating in his 1953 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for From Here to Eternity.

Though his popularity dwindled somewhat in later years, he stepped back into the spotlight with his 1980 cover of “(Theme from) New York, New York.” After a brief “retirement” in 1971, Sinatra continued performing and touring until his death in 1998.

Infamous for his membership in the “Rat Pack,” his alleged Mafia connections, and his ties to such political notables as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, Sinatra remains a beloved and fascinating figure of American popular music and culture.

Local Food Experts Engage Foodie Community of South Florida


Click the image above to watch a video of the discussion on May 13. More photos from the event can be viewed on Facebook.

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Local food experts reflected on South Florida’s abundant natural offerings, strong multicultural seasonings, and rich supply of untapped resources—all shaping the area’s evolving culinary landscape during a panel discussion at UM Special Collections’ Tropical Gastronomies. The event featured chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken, food blogger and Edible South Florida editor Gretchen Schmidt, and author and historian Mandy Baca.

Mandy Baca is talking.

Mandy Baca, author of The Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine: Cortaditos, Stone Crabs & Empanadas, discusses Miami food history with chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken and food blogger and Edible South Florida editor Gretchen Schmidt.

Moderated by Special Collections Head Cristina Favretto, the discussion touched on well-established fares and flavors such as stone crabs, citrus, and mangos, the formation of Van Aken’s New World Cuisine, and how recent developments like the farm-to-table movement are shedding light on lesser-known edible flora and fauna. The event was held as part of a UM Libraries-wide exhibition exploring the rich culinary traditions of South Florida, Cuba, and the Caribbean. Vintage restaurant postcards and menus, local organizational cookbooks, and dining brochures from Pan American World Airlines, Inc., and other materials are on display from Special Collections.

During the event, Favretto announced that Special Collections aims to further its collection of food- and cooking-related materials through the establishment of the Culinary History Collection of Florida, and is seeking donations of historical materials such as restaurant menus, local and regional recipe books, oral histories with chefs, and images of restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets. Individuals interested in contributing to the archive are encouraged to contact Special Collections at 305-284-3247 or

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.


The discussion touched on well-established fares and flavors and how recent developments like the farm-to-table movement are shedding light on lesser-known edible flora and fauna.

Tasty Tunes – Selections from the Musical Theater Archive

singCoffee… candy… picnics… pie… some things are so good you could just sing about them! And, in fact, countless songs have been written about food and drink over the years. To celebrate all things gastronomic, the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library presents a selection of songs from the Larry Taylor-Billy Matthews Musical Theater Archive. From “Tea for Two” to “Let ’em Eat Cake,” the exhibit highlights the importance of food and drink to American culture.

The exhibit will run through the summer. Come and sample the melodic morsels we have to offer!

Now on View: Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

View Ellen Silverman's short film, "My Roots Lie Here," at

Click the image above to watch a video of the event on March 5. View Ellen Silverman’s short film, “My Roots Lie Here,” at

A photography exhibition now on view at the Otto G. Richter Library explores life in present-day Cuba as it is intimately reflected in the vibrant tones and textures of homes throughout the island. The wide-format photographic prints featured in Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen serve as vivid windows into decades-old interior spaces, deeply rooted in routine, tradition, and even memories— glimpses of which are brought out through each scene in vivid detail. These immersive scenes are the work of food and travel photographer Ellen Silverman, well-known for her work in celebrated cookbooks, travel magazines, and other artistic mediums. Spare Beauty is one in a series of Silverman’s projects inspired by her travels to Cuba.


Ellen Silverman

“In my first of several trips to Cuba, I was welcomed into people’s kitchens, where I found sparse spaces where time has stopped,” the New York City-based photographer says in her artist statement. “Due to years of lack of money, supplies and equipment, people have been forced to adapt and improvise. While beautiful and visually stimulating to me, these kitchens are the very real circumstances of each person’s day to day life. This series of photographs reflects the personalities and the circumstances of those who inhabit them.”

Silverman visited the library in March for the opening of the exhibition and to present a short film she directed titled My Roots Lie Here, which can be viewed here. Click here to watch the presentation from the event.

This exhibition will run through July 31, 2015 as part of a library-wide exhibition series exploring culinary traditions and influences of South Florida and the Caribbean.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.


This exhibition will run through July 31, 2015 as part of a library-wide exhibition series.

Now On View: An Entrée to Regional Fares and Flavors


Three exhibitions explore the rich culinary traditions of South Florida, Cuba, and the Caribbean as documented in library collections and outside works, from family recipes and photographs of kitchens to cookbooks, restaurant postcards, and iconic menus.

Tropical Gastronomies: Documenting the Food Cultures of South Florida

Surveying the complex food history of South Florida starting with the earliest uses of tropical crops, this exhibition highlights restaurants of the tourism boom, the emergence of Caribbean flavors, and the local impact of modern fresh-food trends. This exhibit is located on Richter Library’s first floor.

Food and Memory: An Exploration of Cuban Cooking, 1857-today

Featuring books, ephemera, and photographs from the Cuban Heritage Collection that illustrate the idea of a distinct Cuban cuisine and how this cuisine shaped the way Cuban culture developed. This exhibit is located on Richter Library’s second floor.

Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen

Highlighting the work of food and travel photographer Ellen Silverman from her travels to Cuba, where she was welcomed into people’s kitchens and found “sparse spaces where time has stopped.” This exhibit is located on Richter Library’s second floor.

UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection Celebrates the Legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa

by Rosa Monzon, Cuban Heritage Collection

The exhibit includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of performances conducted by Maestro Ochoa.

The exhibition includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of Ochoa’s performances.

Maestro Manuel Ochoa, a Cuban exile musician, choral and orchestra conductor, and founder of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, was the focus of a reception at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library. The event served as the official launch of an exhibition that includes Ochoa’s greatest works and documented memories, which are preserved and available for research at the CHC in the Manuel Ochoa Papers.

Ochoa is recognized internationally not only for his numerous contributions to classical Cuban music in the island but also his work in Spain, Austria, and the United States.

Curated by Meiyolet Mendez, librarian at the CHC, the exhibition displays photographs, letters, publications, music scores, and concert programs of Ochoa’s personal life and career. Included is a photograph from the beginning of Ochoa’s career, at the age of 17, conducting members of the Holguin Choral Society, which he created in 1942, even before he had any formal training. Another photograph shows Ochoa leading the Belen Jesuit Choir in Havana years later. Ochoa’s lesson plans and notes on working with child choir singers also are on display.

“One of the most exciting parts of working on this exhibit was the opportunity to bring to life Maestro Ochoa’s entire career,” said Mendez. “I discovered a person who was passionate about music and music education, and who loved sharing that passion with others.”

Also on display is a paper program of the Concierto Sacro, sponsored by the Cuban Catholic Artists Guild, featuring Ochoa’s Coro de Madrigalistas (Madrigal Choir), popularly noted as the best choir in Cuba, in 1956, Havana.

A driving force and inspiration in Ochoa’s life was always his family. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a photograph of his mother, Caridad Ochoa, who was a trained opera singer, plus a tear sheet from The Miami Herald with an article by David Lawrence Jr. celebrating Ochoa as well as his wife and biggest supporter, Sofia Ochoa.

“She was at his side every step of the way,” said their son, Manuel Ochoa Jr. “My father always said she made it easy for him to just stand at a podium and conduct.”

CHC recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Esperanza Bravo de Varona (left), former chair of the CHC, and current chair Maria Estorino recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Sofia’s unwavering support for her husband continued after his death, in 2006. She not only donated his collection but also contributed countless hours as a volunteer in the processing of these records.

“When my mother and I thought about how we would remember and commemorate my father, we wanted a living memorial,” said Ochoa Jr. “We wanted to share his life story so that others, especially young Cubans and Cuban-Americans would be inspired to continue his musical legacy.”

After studying and working in Cuba, Vienna, Spain, and Rome, Ochoa settled in Miami following the Cuban Revolution. On display are photographs of Ochoa’s performances in Miami, such as the first Festiva Symphony Concert at the Colonel Hotel in 1989. There is also a photograph of acclaimed Cuban pianist Zenaida Manfugás, from the same concert.

In Miami Ochoa also created the Society of Arts and Culture of Americas, but his greatest contribution to the city’s cultural development was the creation and leadership of the Miami Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years. Multiple playbills from its concerts are displayed in the CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, as well as audio and videos of performances.

Guests at the reption.

The celebration of Ochoa’s life and legacy took place at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, where the Manuel Ochoa Papers are now permanently housed and available for research.

Considered “the highlight of his tenure with the orchestra,” said Ochoa Jr., was a concert in Carnegie Hall in June of 2000, also represented in the exhibition.

“Maestro Ochoa’s legacy lives on in the Miami Symphony Orchestra he founded and in the lives that he touched through his various cultural activities,” said Maria Estorino, chair of the CHC. “But it also lives on here, in the library, where through his own papers, his life, his work, and his passion can be discovered.”

The CHC is home to thousands of books, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials that document the rich history and culture of Cuba and its diaspora. The legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa, as well as countless other Cubans and Cuban-Americans, “will not only be preserved here, but it will be shared with our students and with the community,” said Estorino.

“I hope the Maestro Manuel Ochoa Collection continues to inspire and educate future generations to become musicians and conductors, and keep alive the rich tradition of classical music,” Ochoa Jr. said.

The exhibition is available for viewing through the end of summer. For more information about the Cuban Heritage Collection and its events, please visit

View more photos from the event here.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibit will be available at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through summer 2015.

The exhibition is on view at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through the end of the summer.

Now on Display: Ochoa: Remembering the Life and Legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa


We invite you to visit the exhibition currently on display in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion on the second floor of the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library.

Drawing from his personal papers, this exhibition commemorates the life and work of Cuban-born conductor and orchestra director Manuel Ochoa (1925-2006), whose passion for music led him from Cuba to Austria and Spain and back. In exile, he worked with other Cuban artists to bring to life the traditional music of Cuba and Spain, most notably through the Miami Symphony Orchestra, which he founded and led for almost two decades.

Stay tuned in the coming months for activities related to our spring exhibit. Follow CHC to keep in touch.

This Space, This Place: the UM Face of Data Visualization

TSTP-button_compositeby Sarah Block, Library Communications

Computerized contours of varying greens, blues, and oranges form Sean Ahearn’s depiction of Shark Bay, an Australian oceanic wilderness that few visitors are known to have set foot in, and that the Rosenstiel marine geology geophysics graduate student recently explored for six weeks.

The changing colors on the map represent information from sediments he’s collected throughout the region, which thrives as host to some of the oldest living fossils in the world.

And yet it isn’t so much the geochemistry itself, but the visual strategies used to present his work, that make Ahearn’s project a core element of UM Libraries’ This Space, This Place, an exhibition that grew out of the Libraries’ role as co-host to the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibition, which debuted on campus September 4. Planning for the arrival of the nationally touring exhibition spurred efforts to acquire equipment and furniture, redesign spaces, and create the “local” parallel exhibition, which has taken on a life of its own.

This Space, This Place shows how the Libraries are forging partnerships and initiatives that enhance the depth and delivery of research,” says Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman. A wide range of locally created or collected data visualizations will be featured on the first and second floors of Richter Library throughout the fall along with half of the world-traveling collection of images and all 3-D and interactive elements of Places & Spaces.


Visualization for tool created at the Department of Computer Science to aid in the study of ancient manuscripts.

Maps and diagrams featured in This Space, This Place communicate ideas from across the academic landscape, including fields of medicine, geography and regional studies, communications, and political science.

“It’s about pushing the boundaries of data visualization,” says Education and Outreach Librarian Terri Robar, who with colleague Lisa Baker helped coordinate the installation of Places & Spaces and lead the organization of the local exhibition.

Innovative techniques can be found in displays such as the video map at the Digital Media Lab, which uses satellite imagery and immersive original oceanic footage to shed light on the endangered reefs and channels of Biscayne National Park.

A touchscreen map presented by the Cuban Heritage Collection allows viewers to explore Cuban cities, towns, and countryside at the turn of the twentieth century. The Collection curated the historical photos, which were then geo-located with the assistance of the Libraries’ geographic information systems (GIS) consultant Chance Scott.

Ahearn’s project, displayed on the second floor, also involved the use of GIS tools to create the topographical-like maps marking his progress towards an environmental profile of Shark Bay. Using the program ArcGIS, he was able to visually shape and categorize the extensive data he had collected in the region. “The goal is understanding conditions that form this very unique marine environment,” he said.


A simulation from a project at the Miller School of Medicine showing the activation of a drug for treating spinal cord injury.

Education & Outreach Librarian Lisa Baker says that GIS programs are growing in popularity among ’Canes conducting research with a geographical component.

“Most researchers are aware of the different visualization resources available to them, but they are still often surprised by what these tools can do for their own research,” says Baker, who supervises the GIS Lab at Richter Library and leads workshops during the year introducing researchers to various mapping software.


UM Libraries offers a range of data visualization and GIS resources, including books, workshops, and one-on-one assistance at the GIS Lab.

The Libraries system is planning to expand GIS and visualization services with upcoming recruitments for a GIS services librarian and technician, Digital Humanities librarian, and visualization librarian.

But the wide range of visualizations featured in This Space, This Place also demonstrate methods used by UM researchers, outside of GIS, to transform ideas that are well beyond the realm of common knowledge into images comprehensible by a general audience.

An image inside the case at the library’s entrance captures a simulated game of soccer, demonstrating the workings of an artificial intelligence program called Robobiz, a program developed at UM’s Department of Computer Science. The case also features a microbiology-themed simulation from the Miller School of Medicine of a drug that has been developed for treating spinal cord injuries, and an innovative climate model created at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
“Because we are visual beings, visualizations can allow for comprehension and engagement in a topic with little to no background knowledge of it,” says Education & Outreach Librarian Bill Jacobs, who specializes in science resources.


Facsimile of a map of St. Louis (originally published in 1874), from the General Map Collection.

Viewers need not be familiar with Thomas Carlyle, for example, to engage with a Digital Humanities project related to the life of the Victorian-era author. Data mining of letters sent and received by Carlyle is charted in the visualization created at the Department of Computer Science, highlighting significant writing patterns discovered in the correspondence. “It’s important to be able to communicate this type of research with collaborators in other areas of the academic community,” says Mitsunori Ogihara, Associate Dean for Digital Library Innovation who’s had key involvement in the project.

The exhibition also examines the evolution of visualization tools and techniques. Visualizations from the General Map Collection (the largest map collection in South Florida) explore the remarkable past of data visualization, from topographic and road maps to geologic, historical, and thematic. “We have maps from every part of the world and even other planets,” says Robar, who oversees the Collection.

Displays from the Libraries’ Special Collections highlight an array of historic materials that demonstrate the collective knowledge of early mapmakers. “Many of the earliest maps were simply the graphic results of hearsay, of travelers’ accounts and narratives interpreted by mapmakers who had never actually seen the continent of North America,” said Special Collections Head Cristina Favretto.


“Bootlegger’s Map of the United States” (1926), from Special Collections.

In a case featuring a map from the 2004 book Eccentric Florida: A Space Alien’s Guide to the Sunshine State, recorded mermaid sightings, shark teeth discoveries, and lesser-known landmarks are a few of the elements that describe the points across the Florida landscape.

“It’s meant to inspire,” says Robar, speaking of the many types of data that has been visualized and featured in the exhibition. The scope is as wide as the data the librarians and library staff who came together to create This Space, This Place work with year-round to help researchers access (and sometimes distribute). And the possibilities for presenting it, Robar says, are endless. “This is about thinking outside the box,” she says.

This Space, This Place will run through December. The exhibition is made possible in part by the Lynda and Michael Gordon Exhibition Program.