Tickets are on sale now for the Tampa Bay History Center’s latest temporary exhibition.
(TAMPA, Oct. 5, 2023) – The Tampa Bay History Center is proud to announce the much-anticipated opening of Decade of Change: Florida in the 1920s, an exhibition curated by Brad Massey, Ph.D., Saunders Foundation Curator of Public History. This temporary exhibit promises to transport visitors back to an era marked by bootleggers, flappers, and a transformative wave of social, political, and cultural shifts.
Scheduled to open its doors on November 4, 2023, Decade of Change offers a fascinating exploration of Florida’s first modern decade. From the lively jazz tunes of the Roaring Twenties to the architectural evolution witnessed in the construction of bungalows and Mediterranean Revival-style homes, the exhibition provides a snapshot of the diverse facets that defined Florida in the 1920s.
“One of the interactive elements in the show will teach visitors how to do the Foxtrot while boogying to ‘You Better Keep Babying, Baby,’ a 1920’s hit,” says Massey.
Another highlight of the exhibition is a collection of swimsuits that encapsulate the revolution in beachwear during the era. The daring departure from the conservative Bathing Suit Regulations of 1917 is told through the stories of innovators like Jane Fisher, who played a role in introducing fabric-light suits to the beaches of South Florida. Alongside bathing attire, Decade of Change features artifacts that tell the story of Prohibition in Florida, with intriguing items such as a pro-Prohibition Polk County newsletter and photographs of Tampa judge Leo Stalnaker, a staunch Prohibition champion.
The 1920s marked the rise of the motoring tourist, and the exhibition sheds light on this transformative trend. With approximately 2.5 million tourists visiting Florida in 1925 alone, the display showcases the evolution of transportation and the establishment of motorist camps, including Tampa’s historic DeSoto Park.
Sports enthusiasts will find delight in exploring the popularity of baseball, golf, and tennis during the 1920s. The exhibit features a look into the thriving sports culture, from the Davis Islands Tennis Club hosting the Dixie Cup in 1925 to the emergence of Florida as a premier golf destination with legends like Babe Zaharias, Bobbie Jones, and Walter Hagen gracing the newly constructed courses.
Decade of Change concludes with a thought-provoking examination of Jim Crow politics, architectural transformations, and the rise of religious fundamentalism and Pentecostalism during this tumultuous period.
The Tampa Bay History Center invites the community to this immersive journey through the 1920s. Decade of Change is a riveting and multi-faceted showcase that not only entertains but also educates visitors about this important period of Florida’s history.
About the Tampa Bay History Center
Located on Tampa’s Water Street, the Tampa Bay History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida’s history and culture. A Smithsonian Affiliate museum and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the History Center includes the Touchton Map Library and Florida Center for Cartographic Education, and the Witt Research Center, and is home to the Columbia Cafe. One of Tampa’s premier cultural venues, the History Center’s hands-on, interactive exhibits and theaters provide an entertaining and educational experience for visitors of all ages.