With the weight of a sharp downturn in local business, particularly with the tourist industry, pressing on him and his colleagues, John Solomon took a break last week to go fishing.

As director of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, which manages the Tourist Development Council, he has watched as the many businesses the organizations work closely with have seen an abrupt stoppage at a point of the year many were preparing for lift-off.

It was while engaging in the county’s favorite and legendary pastime that an idea dawned on him.

Why not put the marketing materials which are languishing during these days of stay-at-home vacationers to a fresh use?

As a result, the TDC is turning part of its marketing plan into an online education experience for students in Franklin County.

The TDC has partnered with the Franklin County School District System to provide educational videos about the area’s museums and history, to be used as tools in the county’s online curriculum.

“We initially came up with the idea of the museum series to promote the rich history of Franklin County,” said Solomon. “Now with all of our children participating in online learning we reached out to the Franklin County Schools and Apalachicola Bay Charter School and offered these videos for them to use in the curriculum.”

The video series, produced by Royce Rolstad and narrated by FCHS graduate Trinity Hardy, include educational films about history museums, each featuring a spokesperson for that venues.

Included are Tamara Allen with the Carrabelle History Museum, Caty Greene with the Raney House, former park ranger Mike Kinnett with the Orman House, Joan Matey with the Crooked River Lighthouse Museum, and Jeromy Roundtree, with the John Gorrie Museum in Apalachicola. In Eastpoint, an educational film about the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve is featured, with Gibby Conrad speaking in it.

Additional videos featuring the St. George Island Lighthouse and the Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum will be added to the series in the upcoming months.

Superintendent Traci Yoder said she shared the videos with the school administration and asked they share them with teachers to use as virtual field trips for students during the stay at home order, and extended school closure.

“I am thankful for the TDC sharing the video series with the school district,” said Yoder. “During these times of social distancing, and staying at home, it is important that our students stay connected to their teachers, peers, and community.

“The TDC video series will provide a rich source for virtual field trips for our students to continue learning about and staying connected to our community. I am thankful for the strong community partnerships with our community stakeholders, who continue to support our students, staff, schools, and community,” she said. “Our schools may be physically closed in Franklin County, but all of our hearts remain open to caring for our friends, family, and neighbors.”

Franklin County Commissioner and TDC chairman Ricky Jones shared the sentiment. “These videos will be great virtual field trips,” said Jones. “Having our children learn about our history is so important because they are our future.”

The museum videos are available to view online at floridasforgottencoast.com