Tag Archives: Collections

What’s in a Collection? Bathing Suit

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum houses a large collection that ranges from ship building tools to Fresnel Lenses. Hidden among these objects on a high shelf in a box is a pink, wool bathing suit.

IMG_8780This iconic piece of woman’s history was designed by the Rugby Company and dates back to the 1930s. The wool swimsuit, called a tank suit, has a scoop neck, low cut bib that has blue stars, and an anchor embroidered on the front. This swimsuit represents a shift in ladies fashion that was not welcome at the time.

In the beginning of the 19th century respectable women wore wool sailor dresses, bloomers, and stockings to the beach. The wool suits were itchy and when wet it would become heavy which caused the suit to sag and stretch.

By the late 1800s women were ready for a change and wanted to wear more freeing suits similar to what men were wearing. Annette Kellerman, a Vaudeville performer and competitive swimmer from Australia, changed the industry for women`s swimsuits forever with her skin tight onesie which cut off mid-thigh.IMG_8782

Although this style had been accepted in Australia it had not made its way into the United States and in 1907, on a beach in Boston, Kellerman was arrested for indecency. It is the museum’s job to preserve this history. Continue reading

What’s in a Collection? Tobacco Card

As a youth and avid collector of sports cards when you heard the words tobacco cards it was pretty exciting.  As a kid they were considered old and rarely seen as a lad in the Midwest.  These trading cards were from the turn of the century and featured some of the most famous sport figures at the time like Cy Young, Ty Cobb, and Jack Johnson.  However, tobacco cards or trading cards were not just strictly sport cards.

2012020001_frontIn the late 1800s, the tobacco industry started to include trading cards with their product as promotional material.  Several of these card series were educational and trivia filled.  Topics ranged from historic figures, actors/actresses, military leaders, biology and even lighthouses.

In our collections we have a tobacco card from 1889.   This particular card was part of the series Yacht Colors of the World (series N91).  Yacht Colors of the World was produced in three separate series, N91 was a set of 50 cards issued by W. Duke, Sons & Co. for Duke Brand cigarettes. The series featured several actors from the day modeling these various yacht club colors and featured the club flag as well. Continue reading

What’s In a Collection? Snake Bite Kit

In this new monthly blog series, members of our collections team will highlight some of the unique pieces that our museum is preserving and protecting outside of our regular exhibitions.

Hidden in the collection of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is a very interesting piece from the George Fischer Collection.

Snake Bite Kit

Mr. Fischer, a professor at Florida State University, was a pioneer in the field of American Underwater Archaeology. He has worked for the National Park Service, and helped with many archaeological projects here in St. Augustine.

Among the artifacts that Mr. Fischer donated was his field kit used for artifact collection. Inside of which was an emergency snake bite kit, containing: a tourniquet, antiseptic, a lancet, a syringe, two adhesive compresses, and two ammonia inhalants.

Today, snake bite kits have evolved to be much simpler, normally comprised of four main parts: a band to create pressure, antiseptic, a scalpel, and suction devices. While snake bite kits have evolved since Fischer’s kit, there is still controversy around their effectiveness. It is still highly recommended to visit the hospital immediately after to ensure proper treatment if ever bit.


Allison Struck is a junior at Flagler College studying History and International Studies with a minor in Anthropology. A native of Longwood, Fla., she is currently interning in for the Lighthouse’s Collections Department.