Panama and the Canal is a joint project from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the Panama Canal Museum. Panama and the Canal builds from the Panama Canal Museum's rich collection of Panama and Canal Zone materials and the extensive holdings on Panama and the whole of Latin America from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries' Latin American & Caribbean Collection, Government Documents Collection, and the Map & Imagery Library. The Government Documents Department of University of Florida Libraries is the Center of Excellence for the U.S. Panama Canal Commission and its predecessor agencies.
Specialized collections within Panama and the Canal include:
- Panama Canal Museum Collection
The Panama Canal Museum, formerly located in Seminole, FL, closed in 2012 and transferred its collection to the Smathers Libraries, greatly enhancing UF's holdings on Panama and the Canal. The museum's mission was to document, interpret, preserve, and articulate the leadership role played by the United States in the history of Panama, with emphasis on the construction, operation, maintenance, and defense of the Panama Canal and the contributions to its success by people of all nationalities. This mission will continue to guide the preservation of the Panama Canal Museum Collection.
- The Leonard Carpenter Panama Canal Collection
Photographs, publications, artifacts, notes, correspondence. The collection primarily consists of photographs of Panama and the Panama Canal Zone during construction, beginning in 1914. The photographs show dredging and construction operations, workers, military personnel and camps, ships such as the U.S.S. Ohio, the dam at Pedro Miguel, an hydroelectric plant, locks, the Steamship Cristobal, Paraiso Yard, and a U.S. Navy dirigible. Most of the collection, particularly the photographs and items dated 1914 to 1929, originally were created or collected by Walter E. Boyd. He appears in a small number of the photographs, and two of the publications in the collection were mailed to him. The publications include guides, magazines, and brochures that provide historical and travel information about the Canal. Included among a small number of artifacts is a metal spike from the Pacific Coast railroad, which Boyd evidently brought to the U.S. in 1919. The collection also includes an 1887 letter, in French, regarding a proposal for a scheme to transport dredged rubble from the Canal.
- Documents of the Panama Canal Commission and Its Predecessor Agencies
As a Federal Depository Library, the Government Documents Department holds approximately 1,500 items published by the Federal Government relating to the planning for, building of and ongoing operation of the Panama Canal. These holdings include 33 linear feet of publications produced by the U.S. Panama Canal Commission and its predecessor agencies, the Panama Canal Company/Canal Zone Government, the Panama Canal, and the Isthmian Canal Commission. Congressional hearings, committee reports, maps, and general documents concerning the Canal are included in this collection.
See the LibGuide for additional information on the Panama Canal Center of Excellence.>>
- Newspapers from Panama
- Panama Canal Authority / Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP)
Panama Canal Expansion Project
The program for expansion consists of the construction of two new sets of locks, one on the Pacific and one on the Atlantic side of the Canal. Each lock will have three chambers and each chamber will have three water reutilization basins. The project entails the widening and deepening of existing navigational channels in Gatun Lake and the deepening of Culebra Cut. Proposed completion dates are 2014-2015. See a live webcam of the project progress.
The collection is founded largely from the source document collections of the Panama Canal Museum, the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries' Latin American & Caribbean Collection, Government Documents Collection, and the Map & Imagery Library.