Florida Historic Capitol Museum

Skip Navigation

Upcoming Exhibits

Driving Florida’s Image: The 1985 License Plate Contest
May 28, 2015 – September 27, 2015

Driving Florida's ImageThirty years ago, Florida citizens got a rare opportunity to answer the question, “What should Florida’s new license plate look like?” After Governor Bob Graham and Cabinet members rejected a proposed license plate designed by a State-employed artist, they created a contest inviting citizens to design Florida’s next license plate. In all, more than 3,500 designs were received.

The entries provide an interesting snapshot of Florida in the mid-1980s and reveal how citizens felt about their state. The designs highlighted their thoughts about what was special about Florida. Common themes included Florida’s unique natural environment, the space program, and tourist attractions. While most letters and designs were positive, some entrants expressed negative feelings about Florida’s rapid development and population growth, and others wrote about their preference to keep the current license plate.

If you were a designer, how would your plate look?
Visitors are invited to create their own plates and display them as part of the exhibit at the Design Station. For inspiration, be sure to flip through Florida’s 130 current specialty plate designs in the License Plate Lookbook.

Thousands of Floridians Answered the Call
Because of the overwhelming response to the contest, we are unable to show all of the entries that were submitted. The designs below are just a small bonus preview of the many entries the DHSMV received. Be sure to see the exhibit in person to fully experience the impact of the collection!

Space Shuttle Florida Broward
Florida Polk Florida Dade
Florida Marion Florida Orange
Funshine State Gov One
In God We Trust NRA
Armadillo Orca
Florida Historic Capitol Museum Logo

Museum Hours

Monday - Friday
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays
10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Sundays and Holidays
Noon - 4:30 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving Day
and Christmas Day

Free Admission
(donations appreciated)