Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Pamela Schwartz, Orange County Regional History Center’s Chief Curator

By : Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Mayor
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Teresa Jacobs

It’s an honor and privilege to celebrate Pamela Schwartz as a 2017 “Remarkable Person.”

In the early hours after the Pulse Nightclub massacre, when we were reeling with anguish and disbelief from the brutal attack on our LGBTQ, Latinx and Hispanic communities and the unimaginable loss of 49 innocent souls, one person was already thinking about how we could help memorialize the staggering loss and remember the innocent victims. That was Pam Schwartz, who by the next day, had already outlined a plan for the collection and preservation of the tribute items that she knew would come.

Knowing that the Pulse tragedy would always be a prominent part of history, Pam helped envision the One Orlando Collection Initiative, which ultimately involved the collection, preservation and partial display of more than 7,000 artifacts and memorial items. Pam was tireless—and meticulous—in leading a remarkable team of History Center staff in collecting and caring for those items. Despite grueling heat and great emotional toll, Pam showed poise, understanding and energy in organizing the mammoth project. One year later, on June 12, 2017, the Orange County Regional History Center mounted a special One Orlando Collection Initiative exhibit. It’s a day we will never forget, as grieving Pulse families, friends and survivors spent hours lingering over tributes of love, in a setting thoroughly infused with Pam’s compassionate approach and impeccable curatorial skills.

Pam’s expertise as a museum professional is well-known. But her commitment to Central Florida, Barbara Poma and our LGBTQ, Latinx and Hispanic communities exceeds any professional goal or duty—it’s a reflection of who she is, and the love she feels. On behalf of our Orange County family, I’m deeply proud to see Pamela Schwartz recognized for her incredible achievements and her awesome acts of love.

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