Tag: Florida

Reptilian State

Reptilian State

Henry Knight Lozano

This article explores the American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) Florida Group display that opened in 1918 and provides insight into evolving US conceptions of Florida as a reptilian state on the eve of modernity. Scholars of the AMNH's historic animal dioramas—what one calls the museum's "windows on nature"—point to their importance within the institution's educational agenda. At a time when film and wildlife photography were fledgling technologies, these three-dimensional exhibits offered a form of "virtual reality," aided by the museum's claims to the authentic reproduction of nature. The Florida Reptile Group, however, has been overlooked by historians, despite being a major display for several decades; moreover, the diorama coincided with a period of rapid development in South Florida, a site of real estate, tourism, and population booms, including the reclamation of waterlogged environs that inspired the exhibit. Visitor perceptions of the display are unfortunately absent from the historical record, but we can glimpse the diorama for ourselves: photographs survive in the archive, allowing us to contemplate its physical representation but also interpretation of Florida. Building upon older ideas of the region as a primeval wetland, but crucially one being "conquered" by the inroads of drainage and development, the diorama highlights the fraught significance of reptiles and amphibians to how Florida has been popularly imagined, often in deeply ambivalent ways.

Snapshot: The Tea Room, Vizcaya, 2017

Snapshot: The Tea Room, Vizcaya, 2017

Anastasia Samoylova

For this short “Snapshot” feature, photographers selected one of their photographs and wrote a short reflection on what it shows us about the ever-shifting relationship between people and place in the South.

Scattered and Sacred

Scattered and Sacred

John Oliver Hodges
“We’ve Got to Be Awful Careful or We’re Going to Lose It”

“We’ve Got to Be Awful Careful or We’re Going to Lose It”

Anna Hamilton
“Veiled in Emerald”

“Veiled in Emerald”

Diane Roberts, with illustrations by Kristen Solecki
65th Infantry Veteran’s Park

65th Infantry Veteran’s Park

Simone Delerme
ORANGES FROM HARRIET BEECHER STOWE—MANDARIN, FLA.

ORANGES FROM HARRIET BEECHER STOWE—MANDARIN, FLA.

Shana Klein
Land of Sunshine, Land of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida by Gary R. Mormino (Review)

Land of Sunshine, Land of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida by Gary R. Mormino (Review)

Stephen J. Whitfield
Boss Jocks: How Corrupt Radio Practices Helped Make Jacksonville One of the Great Music Cities

Boss Jocks: How Corrupt Radio Practices Helped Make Jacksonville One of the Great Music Cities

Michael Ray Fitzgerald
The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera: An Insider’s History of the Florida-Alabama Coast by Harvey H. Jackson III (Review)

The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera: An Insider’s History of the Florida-Alabama Coast by Harvey H. Jackson III (Review)

Anthony J. Stanonis
Latinization, Race, and Cultural Identification in Puerto Rican Orlando

Latinization, Race, and Cultural Identification in Puerto Rican Orlando

Patricia Silver
The Faux History of The Villages, Florida

The Faux History of The Villages, Florida

Amanda M. Brian

The Villages, a planned retirement community, lies about an hour’s drive northwest of Orlando in the lake-studded landscape of central Florida. Imagine one of its community members—a Villager—enjoying a stroll on a warm day in Lake Sumter Landing, one of three distinct downtowns that cater to approximately 90,000 residents.