8 Museums to Visit in Tallahassee

By Abby Cloud | Photo: The Grove Museum

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, here.

(Pictured: Civil War Exhibit at the Museum of Florida History | Photo: Museum of Florida History)

The Grove Museum Tallahassee’s Grove Museum works to preserve the Call-Collins House, located in downtown Tallahassee. The house is one of the best preserved antebellum residences in the state, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was opened to the public in 2017 after undergoing 7 years of renovation. “In order to engage the public in dialogue about civil rights and American history,” the museum offers free admission, guided tours, and donations to the museum are always welcome. Find out more about the museum, here.

Pictured: The grounds and Grove Museum, located downtown. | Photo: The Grove Museum

Florida Historic Capitol Museum — The 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, here.

(Pictured: stained glass dome at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum | Photo: Florida Historic Capitol Museum)

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.

(Pictured: Re-built church structure on the site of Mission San Luis | Photo: Mission San Luis)

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 them online to learn more more.

(Pictured: the study at the Knott House Museum | Photo: Ray Stanyard / Public Domain)

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. Find hours and admission rates, here.

(Pictured: a bobcat at the Tallahassee Museum | Photo: Tallahassee Museum)

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 their website, here.

(Pictured: the John G. Riley exhibit at the John G. Riley Center & Museum | Photo: The John G. Riley Center & Museum)

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, visit their website.

(Pictured: automobile showcase at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum | Photo: Tallahassee Automobile Museum)

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