This collection of 19th century
structures provided a glimpse into
life on a Big Bend farm the late 19th
and early 20th centuries.
The Red Caboose
Florida's railroad history is
represented by the museum's Red
Caboose, popular with kids of all
Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science - Tallahassee, Florida
|Home of a Florida Princess
Bellevue, the home of Princess Murat, is among
the many fascinating historical and natural points of
interest at the Tallahassee Museum.
History of Florida's Big Bend
The Tallahassee Museum is a remarkable
complex that focuses on the cultural and
natural heritage of Florida's Big Bend region.
It is one of the finest museums and heritage
destinations in the South.
The Tallahassee Museum is itself a historic
landmark. Having celebrated its 50th
anniversary in 2008, the museum provides
solid proof that small beginnings and big
dreams can combine to create wonderful
Originally chartered as the Tallahassee
Junior Museum in 1957, the museum
opened in a single structure in downtown
Tallahassee in 1958. It served thousands of
visitors, particularly children, with displays at
that location for years, but the dream that led
to the founding of the museum soon outgrew
its original location. It relocated to a tract
bordering Tallahassee's Lake Bradford and
has since grown into a complex covering 52
acres and filling dozens of structures.
The Tallahassee Museum preserves a
variety of historic structures and also
maintains a live collection of unique Florida
animals. Visitors can explore the home of a
princess, see a live Florida panther, learn
about life on a century-old Big Bend farm and
even visit the restored commissary or
"company store" of a Florida turpentine still.
Bellevue, the home of the Princess Murat, is
beautifully preserved and can be found in the
museum's "Old Florida" area. The plantation
house has been beautifully restored and
offers a step back through time where
visitors can learn about Tallahassee's own
princess. A relative of George Washington
and the widow of Prince Achille Murat, she
lived at Bellevue in 1854-1867.
Other exhibits in the "Old Florida" area
include there restored Bethlehem Missionary
Baptist Church as well as a one-room
school, caboose and a reconstructed slave
cabin. The church was built in 1851 and once
sheltered Florida's oldest regularly-organized
African American congregation.
A second group of historic structures can be
found in the museum's "Big Bend Farm"
area. This section features buildings from
19th century farms in the region as well as a
gristmill building and commissary from a
The farm is stocked with animals that would
have been typical on a small farm from the
There is a large outdoor area with animals
common to Florida. Ranging from Florida
panthers and alligators to wild turkeys and
even American Bald Eagles, the animals
present a spectrum as diverse as the state
itself. All can be safely viewed as they roam
in natural habitats.
Other points of interest include playgrounds,
nature trails, the Trail Break Cafe, changing
exhibits and the museum store..
The Tallahassee Museum is located at 3945
Museum Drive, Tallahassee, Florida. It is a
recognized Gulf Coast Geotourism attraction.
To reach the complex from I-10, take Exit 196
onto Capital Circle NW. Follow the circle to
CR 371 (West Orange), turn left and Museum
Drive will be just ahead on your right.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday - Saturday and 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
on Sundays. Admission is $10.00 for adults,
$9.50 for seniors over age 65 and college
students with ID, $7.00 for children ages 4-
15. Children under 3 are admitted free.
Please click here to visit the museum's
website for more information.
Rare Florida Panthers are among
the unique animals at the
The restored commissary is a relic
of the days of Florida turpentine
|Copyright 2011 & 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: March 3, 2015