Vintage Florida Movie Posters to be Featured in Temporary Exhibit at the Key West Museum of Art & History

Florida Movie Posters such as “Beneath the 12 Mile Reef” will be featured in an upcoming temporary exhibition at the Key West Museum of Art & History’s latest exhibit “Beaches, Creatures & Cowboys”. The exhibition opens on May 31, 2024, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a free reception for the public. (Photo credit: Museum of Florida History)

(KEY WEST, FL).  The Key West Museum of Art & History will celebrate the opening of its newest temporary exhibition, “Beaches, Creatures & Cowboys: Florida Movie Posters” on Friday, May 31.  The exhibition was first developed by the Museum of Florida History and many of the posters and ephemera form part of its permanent collection.  A reception to mark the opening is scheduled to take place from 5-7 p.m. in the Bryan Gallery and is open to the public.

In the early days of movie making, Florida sunshine lit the sets for many movies, while the palm trees and beaches provided a beautiful backdrop.  Movie producers have been making films in Florida almost since the dawn of the industry.  For a short time in the early twentieth century, Florida even rivaled California as a place for movie making.  However, a lack of government support, money, and studio facilities hurt the industry here, and movie companies soon began leaving the area.

“Despite many Florida studios relocating to the country’s West Coast, many filmmakers still made use of Florida’s landscape, cities, and tourist attractions during filming,” says Dr. Cori Convertito, curator for the Key West Art & Historical Society.  “Tarzan swung through the Florida jungles, swimming champion turned actress Esther Williams frolicked on the beaches, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon lurked in the state’s dark and mysterious springs.”

Colorful, eye-catching posters advertised films and drew people to the movies.  Often, several movie posters, each with a different image, promoted one film.  The movie’s marketers designed each image to appeal to a specific audience.  Depending on the film, a poster might display a dramatic, heroic, romantic, or funny scene.

The 40 classic posters that form part of the display include artwork for “Beneath the 12 Mile Reef,” “Cocoon,” “Flipper,” and “Operation Petticoat” and feature such actors as Gregory Peck, Betty Grable, Spencer Tracy, Jessica Tandy, Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jim Carrey.

“Beaches, Creatures & Cowboys” runs through September 1, 2024, in the Bryan Gallery and is sponsored by the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts & Culture and the Museum of Florida History.  For more information, visit, call Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x 507 or [email protected].

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