Opened in 1977 as the state history museum, it focuses on artifacts and eras unique to Florida's development, and on roles that Floridians have played in national and global events. Through exhibits, educational programs, research, and collections, the Museum of Florida History explores the ways that people have shaped and reacted to their cultural and natural environments. The State of Florida has collected and preserved historical artifacts since 1917. Today, more than 46,000 artifacts dating mainly from the mid-19th century to the present, reflect the state's many cultural and ethnic groups, geographical areas, and varied activities and occupations. All objects in the collections are available for study and research, and many are available for exhibition and loans to other museums.
The Museum of Florida History collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets evidence of past and present cultures in Florida, and promotes knowledge and appreciation of this heritage.
In 2013, Florida commemorated the 500th anniversary of the landing of Juan Ponce de León on Florida shores in 1513. This milestone event marked the beginning of the European, initially Spanish, and African presence in Florida and in the United States. The Museum of Florida History developed Forever Changed: La Florida, 1513–1821, a major permanent exhibit, as part of the statewide effort to highlight 500 years of Florida history.
The interactive exhibit chronicles a dynamic period in Florida's history–from the meeting and interaction of vastly different native and European cultures to its adoption as a United States territory. It brings to life the cultures, perspectives, and material evidence of the many groups that forged the state's past and left lasting legacies.
In addition to text panels, murals, recreated settings, life cast figures representing historical individuals, and three-dimensional objects and artifacts, the exhibit features many interactive and hands-on activities. These components assist visitors of all ages to better understand the colonial history of Florida.
page information credit: Museum of Florida History, Florida Department of Historical Resources, Friends of the Museums of Florida History, Inc.
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors