Nora Kuhn teamed up with Center for Architecture Sarasota to organize an architectural scavenger hunt for young people as a way to participate in the center’s fundraiser.
There’s more than meets the eye if we give Sarasota’s buildings a closer look.
That’s what 8th grade Pine View School student Nora Kuhn thinks, and she hopes to get more young people to adopt this outlook by encouraging them to participate in her Modern Show Architectural Scavenger Hunt of downtown Sarasota on May 5.
“I’ve always been very passionate about history, so I decided to incorporate my love of history and architecture and do something in the community,” she says.
Kuhn was looking for a project to earn her Girl Scouts Silver Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette can receive, when she came up with the idea last year. The 13-year-old admits to not knowing much Sarasota history, but it was her interest in gaining a new understanding of her hometown that led her to go through countless historical records and tour several downtown buildings in order to gain the knowledge she needed.
Once she had completed her extensive research, Kuhn picked the buildings she thought had the most interesting backgrounds and started plotting them on a map. After the trail was designed, she created several pamphlets marketing her concept and proposed it to the Center for Architecture Sarasota. Modern Show Committee Chair Cheryl Gaddie loved it and decided to make the hunt part of the center’s third annual fundraiser.
After fine tuning the path and finishing the logistics of the hunt, the result is a seven-stop, one-and-a-half mile course that participants will navigate by matching architectural details to building addresses. Each person will be given a sheet with the history of every building on the course, a map and a sheet of photos showing the architectural details they must locate. As they walk the course and find each detail, they have to write down the address under the photo of the corresponding architectural detail.
Those who are able to match the most details to the correct building will be awarded prizes.
Kuhn says one of the best parts of preparing the hunt were all the fun facts she learned about some of Sarasota's most iconic buildings, such as how the building that currently houses The Gator Club was constructed in 1912, used to be a grocery store and was one of the few buildings to survive a fire in 1915.
The hunt is geared towards upper elementary and middle school students, Kuhn says, but adults can also sign up and join in the fun.
“it’s not like listening to people lecture you for hours,” she says. “It’s a fun and new way to learn about our history.”
Young people should go on the hunt for not only the enjoyable morning it will provide, but the learning experience that will help them feel closer to their city, Kuhn says.
“The only way to preserve our buildings is to educate people on them,” she says. “People will not want to preserve our buildings if they don’t feel connected to them. Sarasota has such a rich history and it feels horrible to watch them all go.”
The Modern Show on May 4 and 5 is a weekend furniture show and sale that includes the Scavenger Hunt, Modern Cocktail party, gallery talks, a trolley tour hosted by Carl Abbott and a tour of the Guy Peterson-designed home of Karen and Jerry Agee on Siesta Key.