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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Rui Farias

Bill DeYoung



If you’re going to executive-direct the St. Petersburg Museum of History, it helps if you know and love St. Petersburg, and are obsessed with history.

Rui Farias ticks all the boxes.

“I was fortunate enough to live downtown,” Farias said Tuesday on The Catalyst Sessions. “It was just an amazing place to grow up. I still teach a Florida History course at St. Pete High, and I try telling my students what life was like in St. Pete in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s … my first job was selling the Evening Independent on the steps of the open-air post office.”

The museum itself goes back much farther. Begun as the St. Petersburg Historical Society in the 1920s, it has been the repository for papers, photographs and pieces of residents’ lives going back to the late 19th Century.

“What we have on the floor is really a fraction of what we have in our collections,” Farias said. “We have our archives area upstairs in the museum, but we also have two offsite storage facilities.”

The archiving work continues daily, even as the museum building – situated on Bayshore, at the entrance to the St. Petersburg Pier – is being renovated, modernized and upgraded pretty much constantly.

The final third of the conversation was devoted to the story of Doc Webb and his gargantuan, 54-year retail center Webb’s City.


Today on The Catalyst Sessions: Author Sarah Gerard.

Streaming at 7 p.m. weekdays on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube page.


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