Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum located at 4155 W. Vine St. in Kissimmee. Listen to the crying sounds of the Limpkin bird while learning about the native people that survived living in the cypress swamp. Coacoochee a Seminole Warrior fought in the Seminole Wars. From early hunting tools to the River otter, Raccoon, Alligator and the Panther an endangered species all found in the swamp.
Early settlers to Florida included the Cadman family from England who built a citrus packinghouse and Hamilton Disston a wealthy tycoon from Philadelphia who bought four million acres of land in Florida and built a sugar plantation. The Shakers, a religious community owned a commercial fishing and pineapple farm.Trains came to Kissimmee in the early 1880s. The rails eventually extended to Tampa. People would ride the train from Sanford to Kissimmee then stay at a downtown hotel. They would board the Steamer Lillie to take day trips or 4-day trips along the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
“Tin Can” tourists a name given to people who traveled to Florida in their cars, sometimes slept in tents and ate out of tin cans. An exhibit on display until October of this year show cooking utensils, bedrolls and other items necessary for traveling on the road. Trailer Topics, a magazine geared for people who owned trailers and a model of an early Airstream on display.
A replica of the 3,700-pound bronze sculpture on display at the Osceola County Courthouse that celebrates Osceola County’s Centennial.
Different species of mammals and reptiles found in the hammock. The Red Shouldered Hawk and the Yellow-bellied sapsucker a few of the birds found in hardwood and cypress trees. The Whopping Crane, an endangered bird, Osprey, a hawk and a Bald Eagle all popular with bird watchers. A replica of a Bald Eagle nest on display.
I walked around the museum and was in awe of the dioramas that are on display. The workmanship that went into building them is phenomenal. Stop inside the gift shop that is a replica of a steamship. Children’s books and books on the first one-hundred years. Jars of raw natural honey from the honey farm, coffee mugs and other items sold in the gift shop. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted.
Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center located on the grounds of the MANN-WAGNON MEMORIAL PARK on 1101 East River Cove Street in Tampa. Sulphur Springs a community established in the late 1800s. The museum exhibit depicts the history of Sulphur Springs from the tourists who visited to the people who lived in the community.
People came from around the country for the therapeutic health benefits of the natural springs. Activities for the tourists who visited Sulphur Springs included a community pool that people watched competitive swimming and a Toboggan Slide. Reproductions of postcards of the era shown along the wall. The locals as well as the tourists would shop at the Arcade a Mediterranean style building. The Water Tower built in the late 1920s provided water for the increasing number of tourists who came to Sulphur Springs. In the late 1980s, the tower designated an historic landmark but no longer in use.
Urchins, Conchs, Sponges and other forms of sea life displayed in the aquarium exhibit. Walk through the museum and read the Poster Exhibits about Coral Reefs. “Coral Reefs are in Danger” and the eight ways to solve the problem. “Coral Reefs Nurseries of the Sea” show different species found in the reefs. The age, length and how food and shelter provide for the different fish species indicated in “Coral Reefs Are Amazing.”
A shark exhibit will dispel any misconceptions that people have about sharks. Seven species of sharks and 3 kinds of Hammerheads found in Tampa Bay.
Bring a picnic lunch and sit under a pavilion or under a garden trestle, relax while looking out at the Hillsborough River. Learn about the different sea creatures and other exhibits at the museum. Free admission to the museum, donations accepted.
Groveland Historical Museum established in 2007 located at 243 S. Lake Avenue in Groveland. Our museum guides born and raised in Groveland would point to the photographs and articles throughout the museum that tell a story of early Taylorville, Groveland Commerce and Groveland Early Leaders.
Groveland originally named Taylorville after the Taylor brothers who built a turpentine still. The Taylor brothers, Edge Family who built a mercantile, a lumber mill, and the Arnold family who purchased the lumber mill from the Edge family all early pioneers to Groveland.
Groveland High School built in 1937 by the Work Progress Administration (WPA) during the depression. Famous graduates from Groveland High School included a scientist with the Manhattan Project, a professional basketball player who played with 5 professional basketball teams and a football player who played with the National Football League. A coach and teacher at Groveland High School played professional baseball with the minor leagues during the summer months.
The bank closed in Groveland during the depression. Our guide told us that Mr. Edge had a safe in his mercantile store and during the depression; people would bring envelopes with money for him to put in his safe.
As the story goes, while living in the old west, George McClellan Myers won a horse race against Apache Chief Geronimo. He was town marshal in Groveland in the 1920s and 30s. Police Chief Tommy Merrill who retired in 2012 after 43 years of service was the longest running police chief in the United States.
I recommend the museum a lot of history for a small town. Free admission to the museum, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.
After visiting the museum, walk across the street to the park. Enjoy a picnic lunch in a gazebo while looking out at the lake.
Polk County Historical Museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places located at 100 East Main Street in Bartow. Polk County named after James Polk the eleventh president of the United States. The third courthouse built on this site served the county from 1908 until 1987. After a period of restoration, the museum opened in the late 1990s.
Permanent and temporary exhibits throughout the museum. Jacob Summerlin an early pioneer donated land to the development of downtown Bartow. Eight industries supported the early settlers of Polk County. Photographs and labels chronicles the history of the first European families and the first African American families.
People boarded the Atlantic Coastline Railroad in Polk County to Lake Alfred, Florence Villa, Eagle Lake and Bartow. Five railroads served Polk County from the mid-1880s to the mid-1990s when they merged with other railroads. A map of the route and memorabilia from the Atlantic Coastline Railroad.
The citrus industry in Polk County from crates to packinghouses to shipping. The history of baseball in Polk County. First came the tin can tourists people who lived out of their vehicle for months eating canned food. Built in the late 1920s, the first tin can trailer called an Airstream contained a stove and an ice chest. A map and other gear for the road exhibited.
A children’s gallery, a natural beauty exhibit featuring local photographers and a gallery dedicated to Women in Fashion from the early twentieth century. A room dedicated to the men and women from Polk County who served in the armed services in WWII. So much to see a return visit is recommended. Admission is free, hours of operation on the website.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology located at 307 SE 26th Terrace in Ocala. Formerly a detention center for delinquent girls Marion County purchased the building in the mid-1980s for use as a historical museum.
Thousands of years of history from the Paleo-Indians to the present. The Corsiglia Collection, an exhibit that include shell artifacts to the Henderson Collection that include bone artifacts.
Different rooms depict a timeline of events in Marion County history. The Spanish Conquis-tadors and the contact between Native Americans. An exhibit during the Colonial Period display a map of Marion County and a copy of the Treaty of Payne’s Landing with the United States Government and the Seminole Indians in 1832. The Civil War Period that details the war effort.
Hubbard Hart operated the steamboats in the late 19th and early 20th century. A map of the Ocklawaha River shows the routes the steamboats took. The route took passengers from Palatka to Silver Springs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, President Ulysses S. Grant, and Thomas Edison some of the famous passengers.
Photographs of Ocala from the late 19th century and a map of Marion County in the early 1890s. Since the mid-1800s, Silver Springs has been a tourist destination. Early pictures of Silver Springs line the walls.
The New Deal Programs during the Great Depression benefitted Marion County that show photographs of the Cross Florida Ship Canal.
Turn the postcard stand for Old Ocala reproduction postcards. Books on Silver Springs underwater photography prints, autographed books, and posters for sale. Artwork that line the walls for sale and benefit the museum. Admission and hours of operation on the website.
Flagler Beach Historical Museum opened in 2001 located at 207 South Central Avenue in Flagler Beach. Our museum guide pointed out different events in the many photographs that depicted life in Flagler Beach formerly named Ocean City. George Moody the first mayor of Flagler Beach built the Flagler Beach Hotel and The Moody Hotel. Charles Lindbergh known as Lucky Lindy landed in Flagler Beach in 1931.
The Wickline Family early pioneers built a mercantile store and Etta Wickline became the first postmaster to run the post office located inside the store.
Different displays throughout the museum include The Wall of Astronauts including NASA Facts. A history of the Intracoastal Waterway that includes development of Flagler Beach. Indian Pottery, Indian Artifacts and Shell Tools part of the Prehistoric Period. Eight plantations flourished during the Plantation Period growing sugarcane, cotton, indigo, rice, and corn. During the Seminole Wars, Indians and slaves burned down the plantations. In the early 1830s, John James Audubon visited two plantations, painted two birds the American Coot, and the Greater Yellowlegs.
Museum coasters, postcards, books, and 8 x 10 art photos for sale. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted. I recommend the museum, interesting artifacts and the guide was very knowledgeable.
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum located at 1000 Holt Avenue on the Rollins College campus in Winter Park. Wander through the galleries and admire the art of Francesco de Mura one of the greatest painters of the Golden Age of Naples during the Bourbon period from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Bronze statues by Elizabeth Catlett and Audrey Flack both American artists. A sculpture that depicts Greek mythology by Paul Jean Baptiste Gasq. A Ming-dynasty statue in the 16th century to the 18th century Ganesha a Hindu deity used in prayers. Paintings throughout the museum that used oil and canvas, oil on copper with silver, brush and gray wash and pen and black ink. Landscape paintings by American artist William Louis Sonntag to Alberto Pasini an Italian artist who painted “A Mosque in Cairo.”
Modern art that includes pencil on paper, oil on board by twentieth-century American and British artists. Decorative notebooks, postcards and an assortment of jewelry and books for sale in the gift shop. Free entrance to the museum donations accepted.
Museum of Geneva History located at 165 First Street in Geneva. A small community founded in the late 1830s, photographs of cattlemen and people who owned orange groves were some of the early settlers.
A sixth-generation resident of Geneva and a museum docent answered our questions as we walked around the museum. The residents of Geneva donated all the items. Every era of Geneva displayed. Steamships the mode of travel during the late 1800s. People boarded the steamship Astatula from Lake Monroe or Lake Harney and traveled the upper St. Johns River.
An early 1940s map of Orange County that included portions of Seminole and Osceola Counties. Newspaper clippings of the civil war and a handbook of civil war soldiers buried in the local cemetery. Put a special coin in the Violano Virtuoso a self-playing electric violin invented by Henry Konrad Sandell from Sweden.
A toy cradle from the 1850s and Children’s Christmas books from the early 20th century. A hardwood box that holds survey equipment belonging to surveyor Joel Allen Barber. The term blackballed came from the early voting box. Made from wood a voting box included a white marble for “Yes” and a black marble for “No.”
From Honor Our Veterans from WWI and WWII to Railroad History. Spikes from a railroad and a photograph of a Geneva Train Depot circa 1920. A 1912 plat map of Geneva, an early kitchen and photographs of Geneva Turpentine Farming from the late 19th century to the late 1920s.
Pen and Ink prints, books, t-shirts and Geneva license plates for sale. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.
The Museum of Arts and Sciences affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution located at 352 Nova Road in Daytona Beach. Drive along a winding road to the museum admiring the lush foliage along the way. Pick up a map at the visitor desk and take a self-guided tour inside each of the galleries.
Wood engravings drawn by Winslow Homer, lithographs, graphite on paper and silkscreen print inside the Karshan Center of Graphic Art. A cast bronze bust of Jose Julian Marti, a Cuban Patriot, author, poet and translator sculpted by Juan Jose Velez Sicré one of the greatest Cuban Sculptors. Black and white photographs, pottery and furniture all inside the Cuban gallery.
A replica of a Mastodon, Dinosaur skull, shells and mollusks inside the pre-history gallery. The lower jaw of the Saber Tooth Tiger and the lower jaw of the Fossil Horse exhibited.
An assortment of masks, African Art and Artifacts throughout the African Art Gallery. Vigango commemorative posts to honor the spirit of the deceased by the Giriama people of Kenya.
Oil on Canvas paintings by portrait artists Frederick Spencer and Eastman Johnson. A Windsor chair, a seventeenth century court cupboard and an eighteenth century campaign chest in the American Art and Furniture Gallery. Spend an afternoon in the museum; afterwards visit the Sculpture Garden and Tuscawilla Preserve. Prices and hours of operation available on the website.
A beautiful landscape cover the grounds of the Museum of the Apopkans located at 122 E Fifth Street in Apopka. Apopka named the foliage capital of the world. On the lawn, a plaque dedicated to the veterans and civilians of WWII. A millstone used for grinding grain and a bell from the locomotive donated by the Land Family who owned a logging railroad on display. Mayor Land the longest serving mayor of Apopka for over sixty-one years.
Our museum guide took us around the museum explaining everything in detail. The Andersons, Jacksons, Olsons, Larson and Thollander families from Sweden established the settlement of Piedmont. The settlement existed for a hundred years until the town annexed into Apopka in 1986.
A wine press exhibited. The Jackson and Larson families owned and operated a winery in the late 1890s. Florida Orange Wine made from a cross between a lemon and an orange. A Christening dress and a baby crib for Bertha Olson a child of the early settlers to Piedmont. An exhibit of a late nineteenth century living room and a mid-1930s kitchen.
Native American artifacts from Arrowheads to pot shards found around the Lake Apopka area. Photographs on the wall of the Armstrong family and African-Americans in Apopka. A photograph of Willie Lewis “First African-American” mail carrier for the U.S. Post Office in Apopka.
The library filled with books on early Apopka History, Black History and small towns. I recommend the museum a very knowledgeable guide. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted. Museum hours located on the website.