Photo Mystery Monday: October 12, 2015

This is one in a series of posts inviting our users to learn how to get the most information out of historic photos. We’ll post a new photo mystery every Monday, and then follow up with more information about the image on Friday. Get the conversation started by commenting on the blog and sharing it with your friends and family.

Be a photo detective! What is going on in this picture? Do you have a guess as to what year it might be? Where in Florida could this be?

What people, objects and activities do you notice? Try an artist’s trick. Divide the photo into four quadrants and study each section. What new details do you see?

Based on what you have observed, what can you infer from this photograph? What questions do you have?

Come back on Friday when we will update the post with more identifying information!

For Teachers: Photo interpretation is a great critical thinking activity for students. The Photo Analysis Worksheet from the National Archives lets you use any photo on Florida Memory as an opportunity to analyze primary source documents.

 UPDATE: This photo shows actress Ann Blyth swimming in the underwater set during filming of Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid at Weeki Wachee in 1948.

Astute blog reader Susan noticed the contrast between the squeaky clean set and the natural background. Here’s a view of the set before it was lowered into the water.

And we had a real mermaid join us in the comments!

Thanks everybody!



12 thoughts on “Photo Mystery Monday: October 12, 2015

  1. This image looks like something Salvador Dali would do. It also looks like an underwater theater production. The setting could be something out of Shakespear. I have no guess as to what year it is but Weeki Wachi Springs could be the place.

  2. It looks like and underwater scene. I see a mermaid. I think Weeki Wachee or Webb City. Webb city had a Mermaid display. Maybe 60’s

  3. First of all, picture is black and white. Lots of fish swimming, and a lovely mermaid. The light playing everywhere, shadows and light appear to be underwater photography. Sandy looking bottom and no living trees, appears to be driftwood. The structures are stark white, looking like they were cleaned recently, even a giant clam, or kept clean while other things, such as logs, tree limbs and clumps of moss or kelp left to grow or deteriorate naturally. A beautiful scene. I have never been to Weeki Wachee, but have heard about it for many years and about the mermaids. I would estimate it would be in the late 50s early 60s in probably Weeki Wachee. Beautiful picture. Possibly taken through glass window.

  4. An underwater Weeki Wachee performance?
    Wishing FL Memory photos were larger/higher resolution – it is so hard to make out details in such small pix…

  5. Answer to #6. I was a mermaid at Webbs City in early 60’s, there
    was a film of mermaids at WW running in back of cave and manikin’s
    were Laureli and her baby Susie Seashell. I was an unseen mermaid
    behind the scenes talking. There was no water there. I think
    fish tank.

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