By Abby Cloud
As the capitol of Florida, Tallahassee is known for its vast history and heritage, from the history of African American and Native American culture in the area, to the history of Florida’s government, environment, and traditions, to Tallahassee’s own unique culture as a city. With over seven museums city-wide to visit and learn from, this small town is capable of exhibiting a rich history that most are not aware of. Read below to learn about what museums you can find around Tallahassee.
Museum of Florida History — The Museum of Florida History opened in the late 1970s as Florida’s state history museum, this museum functions to “collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret evidence of past and present cultures in Florida” through its many exhibits and collections that are open to the public. Here you can expect to find information regarding Florida’s history from the prehistoric era to the mid-20th century, Florida’s World War II Living Memorial, and over 45,000 artifacts. For information on hours and current exhibits, visit their website, http://www.museumoffloridahistory.com
Florida Historic Capitol Museum — Tthe iconic Florida Historic Capitol Museum on South Monroe Street stands as its own museum honoring “past, present, and future connections between the people of Florida and their political institutions.” You can take a trip to the past and visit areas such as the 1902 Governor’s office and the former chambers of the House of Representatives, Senate, and Supreme Court. With a variety of photographs, artifacts, and multimedia, this museum allows you to interact with Florida’s former Capitol building and its contributions to Florida’s government. To find out what exhibits they have, and what their hours are, check out their site, http://www.flhistoriccapitol.gov/.
Mission San Luis — This unique museum is one of the only 100 Spanish colonial missions that have been reconstructed and open to the public. Here, you can delve into the world of the Apachee-Spanish peoples through interactive exhibits and history interpreters in period-costumes. Some of the reconstructed sites you can expect to see and walk through are the Apachee council house, a Franciscan church, a Spanish residential area, a blacksmith shop, and the military fort, Castillo de San Luis. Go to www.missionsanluis.org to see admission prices and hours.
Knott House Museum — This historic site resides on East Park Avenue in Downtown Tallahassee and is over 150 years old. Constructed by George Parker, an African American builder, the Civil War-era home was occupied by William and Lucella Knott, a prominent couple in Florida. After the death of their son, the Knott House was established as a museum in 1992. Visit http://museumoffloridahistory.com/about/sites to learn more about this museum.
Tallahassee Museum — Formerly known as the Tallahassee Junior Museum, this museum was founded in 1957 by teachers and the community in order to give the children of Tallahassee a chance to interact with science, art, history, and world cultures. Today, the mission behind the museum has gravitated towards promoting the “region’s natural environment and cultural history,” but still attracts children and families through the popular Tallahassee Tree-To-Tree Adventures course, living displays of native Florida wildlife, and historic buildings. Go to https://tallahasseemuseum.org to find hours and admission rates.
John G. Riley Center/Museum — The John G. Riley Museum is a community museum and educational center for African American history and culture. The purpose of this site is to maintain African American “landmarks and legacies” within the State of Florida and to highlight their contributions to the state as well. The center itself represents Smokey Hollow, a former black community found east of downtown Tallahassee. To learn more about events and tours offered, as well as admission prices, check out http://rileymuseum.org/site.
Tallahassee Automobile Museum — Although many community events are held at this location, the Tallahassee Automobile Museum is actually home to a variety of primarily American automobiles. Started by showcasing only DeVoe L. Moore’s 15-car collection, the museum now contains over 160 iconic and classic American cars, such as three different Batmobiles, including the ones from the movies “Batman Returns” and “Batman Forever.” To read more about what this museum offers and to find out admission prices, go to https://tacm.com.