Information about current exhibits and selected past exhibits is provided below, including exhibits on display in the Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery on the University of Florida campus.


Track Changes

Long before a canal cut across the Isthmus of Panama, the first transcontinental railroad charted a similar path between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Built 1850-1855, the Panama Railroad transformed the country’s physical and economic landscape. It propelled Panama into a future of exponential importance as a global crossroad and a tumultuous relationship with the United States that lasted 150 years. The impacts, for better and worse, were profound. Curated by Elizabeth Bemis. On display in the Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery from April 2024 to March 2025.

Panama Railroad train.


The Cutting Edge

As built, the Panama Canal is an extraordinary achievement that would have been impossible to create just a few decades earlier. Recent advancements and innovations in concrete, dredging, electricity, equipment, engines, dynamite, railroads, and many others, meant the difference between success and failure. Individuals and industries capitalized on these improvements and invented solutions to complete an awe-inspiring engineering project in a time frame that pushed the limits of possibility. On display in the Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery from April 2023 to March 2024.

Banner image for "The Cutting Edge" exhibition featuring the Canal construction site

Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery

The Digging is the Least Thing of All: Health & Medicine at the Panama Canal

Over 235 million tons of rock and dirt were excavated to create the Canal. Yet, Chief Engineer John Stevens saw sanitation efforts and workers’ health as the greatest challenge when he remarked, “the digging is the least thing of all.” Examines the tremendous public health infrastructure necessary before and during Canal construction, which evolved into an equally monumental system designed to keep the people operating it safe from injury and disease. For the people of the Canal Zone and Panama who lived at the crossroads of global trade community care, medical studies, vaccines, and quarantine were a part of their everyday life and work. On display from March 2022 to April 2023.

Cover of Puck Magazine

Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery

Are We Next? Fear and Social Roles in World War II

Living in the Canal Zone and surrounding area was a unique experience as the threat of war increased. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, war saturated everyday life. Many were surprised that Pearl Harbor was attacked before the Canal, yet it made potential threats even more a reality. Fear shaped expectations of what it meant to be a patriot; be it a soldier, a civilian, a person of color, or a gendered ideal. On display in the Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery from March 2020 to February 2022.

Anti-aircraft searchlights over the Panama Canal

Online Exhibition

Immediate Aftermath: Operation Just Cause

This online exhibition is based on the exhibition of the same name that was presented at the Panama Canal Society Reunion, July 4 – 6, 2019, at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, Florida. The exhibition features photographs depicting the U.S. military invasion of the Republic of Panama in late 1989 and early 1990.

Aftermath of Operation Just Cause


An American Canal in Panama

The Panama Canal and its surroundings were historically the source of tension between the United States and Panama. This exhibition looks at the sources of tension and examines events that led to the transfer of the Canal in 1999. Displayed in the Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery from March 2019 to February 2020.

Photo of 1979 Save the Panama Canal rally


Served in the Zone

An exhibition of food and community identity during the American Era of the Panama Canal Zone. The exhibition features photographs, artifacts, and ephemera paired with memories from former Canal Zone residents to illustrate their impact. Displayed in the Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery from March 2018 to February 2019.

People eating a meal, Panama Canal


Between Two Oceans

An overview of the first 100 years of the Panama Canal as collected by those who devoted their livelihoods to this waterway. Displayed as the inaugural exhibition in the Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery from April 2017 to February 2018.

Ship passing through Panama Canal lock


Panama Canal Centennial Exhibition

This online exhibition is based on the Panama Canal Centennial exhibitions that were organized by the George A. Smathers Libraries to celebrate the centennial of the opening of the Panama Canal. The series of exhibitions were presented across the University of Florida campus, including the Fisher School of Accounting, Florida Museum of Natural History, Legal Information Center, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, and Smathers Libraries.

SS Ancon transiting the Panama Canal


Panama Canal Trail

The Panama Canal Trail is marked across the UF campus by seven commemorative signs that explain the history, construction and inner workings of this massive engineering feat. It represents a 1/100th scale transit of the Canal (about 1/2 mile). Presented in collaboration with Frank C. Townsend, Emeritus Professor, Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, UF.

Map of Panama Canal Trail exhibit on the University of Florida campus

Centennial Exhibition

Documenting Presence

Features photographs from the Panama Canal Museum Collection that were taken primarily during the construction era and demonstrate the emerging popularity of photography as a documentary art form. Displayed at the Tampa International Airport March 20, 2015 – August 2015.

Florence Neville Miller visiting Canal construction work site

Centennial Exhibition

Voices from the Panama Canal

This exhibition is an effort to represent the different voices that make up the history of the Panama Canal; a history rich because of its diversity, but also dynamic and conflictive. Displayed in the Smathers Library Exhibit Gallery August-October 2014.

Construction Crews in a Lock Chamber of the Panama Canal

Sponsoring Exhibits

The goal of the Panama Canal Museum Collection exhibition program is to educate and raise awareness about the American era of the Panama Canal. Exhibition sponsorship provides a unique opportunity to support this goal.

Through gallery, online, and traveling exhibitions, we share the memories and stories preserved in the PCMC, and introduce audiences to the treasure trove of distinctive and historically significant objects. Exhibitions are curated in the Albert H. Nahmad Panama Canal Gallery on the University of Florida campus and at the Panama Canal Society Annual Reunion. Online exhibitions are accessible freely at any time to a worldwide audience, and traveling exhibitions enable education in diverse locations.

We invite individuals, groups, and corporations to sponsor PCMC exhibitions. All sponsors receive acknowledgment in exhibition materials, including: invitations, programs, exhibition catalogues, signage, flyers, press releases, the UF PCMC website and e-mails sent to Friends members. Complimentary curator tours are also provided for sponsors and their guests. If you are interested in sponsoring an exhibition or would like more information, please contact John Nemmers, jnemmers@ufl.edu, 353-273-2766.