Cedar Key Museum offers guests a chance to go back in time to experience the history of the area. The museum is a window into Florida’s past and ways of life that have all but vanished, from the indigenous people who once lived off the land to the timber loggers who shipped cedar across the state.
This museum features shell and artifact collections and intricate dioramas spanning from prehistoric times to the early 1900s. You can learn about the history of Cedar Key and the people who lived in the area. Designed by architect Charles Kuhn in 1961, the building is an outstanding example of mid-century modern architecture, plus a testament to the outstanding craftsmanship of the University of Florida exhibits team.
The intricate dioramas were all made by hand, down to the smallest of details – like the pipe in the hand of a sailor and needles on the branch of a pine tree. The lettering in many of the displays was done well before today’s digital printing by a technique called Leroy lettering. The artist used a special device to keep the lettering straight and similar in size and shape. Be sure to look closely, because the museum itself truly is a piece of art.
Not to be missed is the extensive collections of St. Clair Whitman. The Cedar Key resident was known for his collections of seashells and native American artifacts, and he was once featured in National Geographic. He arranged for his collections to be donated to a museum after his passing, and they are housed here at Cedar Key Museum State Park. St. Clair Whitman's restored family home is also at the park. Walk through the house and see what life on Cedar Key was like in the 1920s. Grab a rocking chair, feel the marsh breeze and be sure to linger at this special place.
page information credit: Florida State Parks
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors