Florida History Museums & Collections

Florida is home to a large number of history museums. These museums can be found in cities all across the state. Some of them focus on general history, but there are also many focusing on specific themes such as Native American history, military history, or the history of Florida. 

The oldest structure in the city, the St. Augustine Lighthouse has stood erect for nearly 145 years. Visit the working remains of Florida's first lighthouse and experience the rich history of a once vital structure.

The American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora celebrates Cuban culture and history in America and around the world. It showcases the Cuban experience through the greatest artists, thinkers, and creators in the Cuban Diaspora

American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora

A visit to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum is a trip back into old Florida. The museum displays artifacts, photographs, and maps that show the Island's history. The museum's exhibits tell the story of the first settlers on the Island and the legacy they left behind. Kids and parents can enjoy walking and biking tours of Anna Maria City, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach.

Anna Maria Island Historical museum

The Crowley Museum & Nature Center is an excellent way for families to experience the history of old Florida. The museum contains a pioneer cabin, a blacksmith shop, a working sugar cane mill, and tons of artifacts for you to check out. The nature center offers the Children’s Discovery Path, where children can learn in a fun, hands on way, and a boardwalk that takes visitors through 5 Florida habitats and ends with an observation tower overlooking the marsh and the Myakka River. 

Crowley Museum & Nature Center

Ernest Hemingway is one of the most famous former residents of Key West. This house was his home beginning in 1931 and was a common place for him to visit even when it wasn't his permanent home for the rest of his life. It was built in 1851 and became the first home in Key West to have an in ground pool in the 1930s. One of the most well-known residents of the home was Hemingway's six-toed cat, and many of the descendants of that cat, who also have six toes, live there still. Now the home serves as a museum to honor Hemingway. You can tour the home for an in-depth history lesson, or it can be rented for events such as weddings.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Historic Spanish Point is a historical museum and environmental site. It focuses on collecting items that fit in with their 4 P's: Prehistory, Pioneers, Palmer, and Plants. There are tons of historical items and stories collected here that showcase the prehistory and pioneering periods of the area. Palmer represents Bertha Palmer, a Chicago socialite who moved to Florida in 1910 and once owned this land, beginning the preservation that makes this museum special. Plants are showcased in the museums nature trails and boardwalks, which house local plants and wildlife and keep records of the ecological history of the area as well. The museum hosts many events and is available as a venue rental.

Historic Spanish Point

HistoryMiami is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum in downtown Miami that focuses on showcasing the history of Miami. Permanent collections include archives and manuscripts, an aviation collection, a maritime collection, a seminole collection, and an archaeology collection. Temporary exhibitions are constantly rotating to give you a new experience every time you go.

HistoryMiami

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, named after John Ringling and his wife, has art exhibits, a circus museum, a beautiful flower garden, and more. John Ringling and his brothers were part of the Ringling Brothers circus. The house that John built for his wife is part of the museum, visitors are even able to walk through most of the home. 

The Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum celebrates the era of the wreckers in Key West, a time in the 1800s when people made a living salvaging shipwrecks. During this time hundreds of ships were coming through Key West and there was about one wreck every week. Wreckers would wait to spot a wreck and race to be the first one to arrive at the wreck, and the one to take control of the spoils. Many people struck it rich in this career and helped make Key West the richest city in America. The museum displays the kinds of treasures wreckers might have found during that time and invites visitors to experience life as a wrecker.

Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum

Mel Fisher was one of Key West's most famous treasure hunters. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum holds some of his finds and other treasure recovered from 17th century wrecks around the island.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

The history of North Brevard can be studied here at the North Brevard Historical Museum. Visitors can learn many of the folklore and tales that have been told over last couple hundreds of years. North Brevard's entire history can be found here. It is an ideal place to visit if you are one of the locals who grew up in the area.  

North Brevard Historical Museum

The Oldest House in South Florida is in Key West on the historic Duval Street. It was built in 1829 and has survived many disasters that nearby houses did not. Today it is a museum that shows visitors what life was like back then and how people lived on the islands.

Oldest House Museum and Gardens

The Orange County Regional History Center is the best place to learn about the history of this region. It has exhibits that follow the history of Florida through its natural places, indigenous people, first contact by Spanish explorers, it's position as an early tourism destination, and more. Temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and events make this a great place to come back to again and again.

Orange County Regional History Center

The Sarasota Historical Society is a society that keeps history alive in Sarasota county. It is housed in the oldest house in Sarasota, the Bidwell-Wood House built in 1882, and the Crocker Memorial Church built in 1901. The buildings are available for tours and to rent out for events. If you're interested in history, you don't want to miss their lecture series, Conversations at The Crocker. Check out their website for other events and happenings.

Sarasota Historical Society

Ranked as one of Florida’s top museums, the Museum’s living exhibits of native Florida wildlife, nature trails, and native gardens are renowned by visitors of all ages. The museum encourages guests to learn about North Florida’s rich history, wildlife, and culture.

Tallahassee Museum

The Custom House Museum is Key West's leading history museum. It began as Key West's customs office, postal service, and district courts after being built 1891. Now it is a great place to learn about the rich history of this beautiful island.

The Custom House Museum

The Titanic: Artifact Exhibition is a unique experience where visitors of the Orlando, Florida area can visit to experience a little bit of history. With actual artifacts and replicas of artifacts covering the walls of several rooms, clients can learn the history behind the dreaded vessel as a passenger of the ship. 

The Truman Little White House has had many purposes through history. It began as a naval station’s command headquarters in 1890 and remained so for decades. It is most famous as the winter White House of President Harry S. Truman. Today it serves as museum of presidential history and Key West's place in it.

Truman Little White House

The Wells' Built Museum is located inside of the historic Wells' Built hotel, a hotel built by one of Orlando's first African-American doctors, William Monroe Wells in 1921. It was built to host black travelers who were not welcome in the segregated hotels in the area. Today it is a museum dedicated to African-American history in Central Florida.

Wells' Built Museum

The Winter Park History Museum contains collections that help to preserve the history of Winter Park and its surrounding areas. Check out their website for temporary exhibits, special events, and educational programs.

Winter Park History Museum

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