ORLANDO, Fla. — Some of Central Florida’s most prized historical artifacts at the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture are getting a second life.

What You Need To Know

  • Students and educators at Full Sail University are using their skills to restore photos for the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture

  • Eric Rosenfeld, Program Director of Graphic Design and Digital Arts at Full Sail University, said the goal is to try to bring back data that's been lost

  • Rosenfeld said the process for the photo restorations is long, but it's providing students an opportunity to give back to the community

It’s part of a collaboration with Full Sail University, where students and educators are putting their skills to use by restoring historic photos and documents.

“These happen to be the Tuskegee Airmen that served our country and were such an important part of our history,” said Eric Rosenfeld, Program Director of Graphic Design and Digital Arts at Full Sail, as he scanned in photos.

Rosenfeld is giving his students a chance to apply what they’ve learned in class at the museum by having them work on restoring historical artifacts and photos, like a damaged yearbook of America’s first African American military pilots.

“We will just have to decide on how do we bring back data that has been lost,” said Rosenfeld.

It’s a long process, allowing them to not only hone their skills, but provide a service to the community.

“It’s going to take some hours of work, it is going to take some sweat and where we examine the imagery,” said Rosenfeld. “We examine the entire pages, what needs to be fixed, what can just be color corrected and then we can move on, and then the images that need a lot of repair, then it’s just kind of pixel-by-pixel recreation.”

As students document and preserve the history that adorns the walls of the museum — a hotel converted into an institution for African American history — Jessica Henlon, Full Sail’s Director of Student Development, encourages them to soak up everything around them.

“What the students have learned in the process of documenting and participating and scanning photos is that there is a rich history here in Central Florida, and it is right in our backyards, so now they know that they can continue to volunteer spread the word and increase traffic into this beautiful space,” said Henlon.

Back in the classroom, Rosenfeld and his students take a closer look at what they digitized in the museum, ready to put in the work to restore the images in a historically accurate way that honors the legacy they left behind.

“And so, just to be able to bring that gravitas into the classroom where maybe we are normally just kind of having fun and exploring our creativity, this is a practical use of it and it’s been a real joy,” said Rosenfeld.

Helping them to be remembered in the way they deserve for generations to come.