RAIN: A History for Stormy Times: A natural and cultural tour of RAIN, from the torrents that filled the oceans four billion years ago to the modern story of climate change. A wellspring of life, rain also has a place in our souls. In an ancient perfume region in northern India, villagers bottle the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth, while in Manchester, England, and America’s Seattle, leaden skies helped inspire Morrissey and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. The scents and songs capture rain in small ways. Humans have long been convinced we could control the atmosphere with ideas much bigger, from the Roman rain god Jupiter Pluvius to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straight-jacket the Mississippi River.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. Changing rainfall patterns are some of the earliest tremors of our warming globe. Armed with computer models looking forward, there is also much to learn from looking back. Too much and not enough, rain is an experience we share. Its history has much to tell us about coming together to live more ethically with water – and adapt to the stormy times ahead.


Dr. Steven Noll teaches American History at the University of Florida. His research focus is in the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, particularly in Florida. This talk will demonstrate how Florida’s history as a territory and state can be told through the changing methods of transportation used to move people and goods to and within Florida. Noll’s presentation will also include a highlight on transportation within Manatee County.

Reception with light refreshments to follow (Manatee Village will close at 7pm).
Free admission and parking. No RSVP required, seating on a first come, first served basis.
Open to the public. Ages 13 & up recommended.


Florida’s “Three Marjorie(y)s” used the power of the pen and grassroots activism to celebrate Old Florida and protect Florida’s wildlife and wild places. Through engaging historic postcards and photos and a lively presentation and discussion, author Peggy MacDonald blends Florida, women’s and environmental history to provide audiences with an inspirational message about the power a small group of committed citizens can have to defend Florida’s environment. Carr was raised by naturalist parents in rural southwest Florida when the state had fewer than a million residents. In the 1960s, when I-75 was constructed through her backyard, Carr launched a conservation career that preserved many of north central Florida’s ecological treasures.

The program begins with light refreshments in the Museum lobby at 5:30 p.m., with Florida’s History Shop and the Museum galleries open for visitors to enjoy. The talk begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Heritage Hall Auditorium. The History Shop and Museum galleries will remain open until 8:00 p.m., providing an additional opportunity view the “Living the Dream” exhibit. Dr. MacDonald will be available to sign books before and after her presentation.