New Exhibit Tells History of Florida Auto Racing

Courtesy of Hailey Ray

Sun, Sand and Speed, a history of Florida auto racing, is the newest exhibit to come to the Museum of Florida History, which began January 22.

The museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibits throughout the year and auto-racing was next in line to hold a place in the showroom.

“We really wanted to do an exhibit on auto-racing because it has such a long history beginning and it still brings in a lot of money to the state today,” said Michelle Heom a Senior Curator for the museum.

The exhibit covers five different types of racing and features memorabilia from drag racing legends like Don “Big Daddy” Garlits, photos from historical races and a racing simulation game which visitors can participate in to test their speed.

The history of auto-racing dates back to 1903 and still continues on today so it was hard for curators to create a timeline to showcase everything perfectly.

Bruce Graetz another Senior Curator who co-curated the exhibit for the museum said the toughest part of the putting together the exhibit

“It was a challenge to figure out what parts of auto racing that we would cover since it’s such a broad topic,” Graetz said. “We started with the first races on the beaches, and went all the way up to the present which will actually be updated with next weeks races.”

Pat temporary exhibits have included the  Civil Rights Era and The History of Fishing in Florida but auto-racing is one of the more popular attractions and has brought in many fans already.

“A lot of the time our exhibits have an end date but auto racing is something that will definitely go on in the future and forever.”

The exhibits will be accompanied by a number of events including a special screening of Hoppin’ Rattlesnakes, on March 17, which documents beach racing in Volusia County.

This will include a discussion with the film’s director, Eric Breitenbach, and veteran female racer Vicki Wood.

Meredith Beatrice the Director of Communications for the State of Florida says that  exhibits like these are a must see event while their in town.

“We really love offering these types of exhibits to the public and have so much fun bringing them here, so we encourage students, schools and families to come out and enjoy.”

Janie Wyner a retired teacher visiting the exhibit said that she enjoyed the exhibit. She recalls being a little girl growing up in Seminole County and hearing about the races as well as seeing a few on television.

“I think the exhibit was just wonderful,” she said.  “I’m glad I came out today it was really nostalgic to see the old racing photos I remember from television.”

Students can visit the Sun, Sand and Speed exhibit from now until July 4 and get the full list of events and times at