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Diorama: "Sponge Fishing, Tarpon Springs, Florida"

National Park Service, Museum Divisionbefore September 1940

U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Installed in the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum in September 1940, this original, partially-mechanized diorama depicts sponge fishing activities at Tarpon Springs, Florida. John Cocoris introduced sponge diving to this city on central Florida's Gulf Coast in 1905. Cocoris recruited sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, and by the 1930s the sponge industry in Tarpon Springs was generating millions of dollars annually.

This diorama is split so viewers are able to see what is going on above and below water. A white-hulled sailing vessel in the central foreground has three crewmen aboard, and harvested sponges are visible drying on the deck. Tethered to the boat and walking on the sea floor beneath them is a diver in a diving bell helmet and suit working at collecting sponges. A second boat is in the background, with several more moored at the dock. Palm trees, a white house with a porch, and the more distant buildings of Tarpon Springs are onshore in the far background.

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  • Title: Diorama: "Sponge Fishing, Tarpon Springs, Florida"
  • Creator: National Park Service, Museum Division
  • Date Created: before September 1940
  • Location: Tarpon Springs, Florida
  • Physical Dimensions: Approximately H 60.5, W 76, D 54 inches
  • Provenance: INTR 07374, U.S. Department of the Interior Museum
  • Subject Keywords: John Cocoris, sponge, Tarpon Springs, fishing, Florida, Gulf Coast, diver, vessel, Greek, harvest
  • Type: Diorama
  • Rights: U.S. Department of the Interior Museum
  • Medium: wood, acrylic, fabric, plaster, glass, paint, metal, papier-mâché, wire

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