Street Address
3945 Museum Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32310
Mailing Address
3945 Museum Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32310
phone: 850-575-8684
fax: 850-574-8243
e-mail: info@tallahasseemuseum.org
web: www.tallahasseemuseum.org
Hours
Monday - Saturday9 AM - 5 PM
Sunday11 AM - 5 PM
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day
Admissions

Regular Museum Admission (Does not include Tallahassee Tree To Tree Adventures). Adults: $10; Seniors (65+) and College Students: $9.50; Children (ages 4 - 15): $7.00; Members and Ages 3 and under are Free. GROUP ADMISSION RATES (Groups of 20 or More) Adults: $8.50; Children (15 and younger): $6.50.

Tallahassee Tree To Tree Adventures (Aerial Adventure Course with Ziplines). TREEmendous Adventures (children's course - 39-60" tall): $15; Canopy Crossing (intermediate course - must be 54" tall): $25; Soaring Cypress Course (includes Canopy Crossing): $45. Group Rates (10 or more) are available. Combo Ticket (Tree To Tree Adventures and the Museum Admission) TREEmendous Adventures: $19; Canopy Crossing: $31; Soaring Cypress: $51.

Services
Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Cafe/Restaurant
Group Tours
Staff
Russell S. Daws, Executive Director/CEO
Linda Deaton, Chief Curator
Mike Jones, Curator of Animals
Gwendolyn Waldorf, Assistant Curator
Carmin Nedley, Executive Assistant to the Executive Director
phone: 850-575-8684
Rebekka Wade, Vice President / COO
phone: 850-575-8684 x133
Natasha Hartsfield, Director of Education
Amber Smalley, Director of Marketing & Membership

Description

Set amidst 52 acres of breathtaking Florida flora and fauna, the Tallahassee Museum has served as an iconic Tallahassee landmark for more than 50 years. Ranked as one of Florida’s top museums, the Museum encourages guests to discover and learn about North Florida’s natural environment, rich history and diverse communities. The Tallahassee Museum is an oasis, close to the heart of downtown, where wildlife, nature and history meet.

The nationally-recognized and accredited museum offers a wide-range of activities and exhibits from experiencing an 1880s farm at the Big Bend Farm to swinging through the treetops at the all new Tallahassee Tree to Tree Adventures (an outdoor zip line and tree-top adventure course for kids and adults). History buffs will enjoy the Old Florida exhibit where visitors can learn about Southern communities and living in the 1900s through various historic buildings including the Bellevue plantation house and a Seaboard Airline Caboose. Continue through the 52 acres bordering Lake Bradford and experience the internationally acclaimed Jim Gary's 20th Century Dinosaurs, discover indigenous wildlife in their natural habitats, walk the nature trails and experience the beauty of the cypress swamp and gardens. If you’re lucky you just may spot a Florida panther or a once-extinct red wolf.

The museum recommends taking two to 2.5 hours to explore all it has to offer so be sure to clear part of your day to walk through the beautiful site. Daily programs, free parking, great food at the Trail Break Café and great gifts and souvenirs at the Museum Store complete the perfect visit.

Mission

The Tallahassee Museum promotes knowledge and understanding of the Big Bend's cultural history and natural environment, inspiring people to enrich their lives and build a better community.

History

In 1957, a community group established the Tallahassee Junior Museum to offer school children enriching experiences with science, art, history, and world cultures. In the 1960s, it moved to its present location on a chain of lakes. By 1980, the Museum exhibits included a collection of restored historical buildings, and by 1990 its natural habitat zoo of native wildlife featured endangered red wolves and Florida panthers.

Regional growth and the strengths of its collection led the Museum to revise its mission and focus on the region’s nature and history. It dedicated itself to increased professionalism and in 1985 received AAM accreditation (renewed 1998, 2009). A 1989 capital campaign raised one million dollars to add a visitor center, improved parking, and offices, and to expand the potential for hosting significant traveling exhibits. In 2005 the Museum officially began doing business as the “Tallahassee Museum”.

In 2013 the Museum added digital access to its collections through its website. A new interpretive plan, adopted in 2012 and initiated in 2013, guides the Museum in remaining relevant to its growing community. The addition of the Tallahassee Tree To Tree Adventures (an aerial adventure course with ziplines), an outdoor sculpture exhibit of dinosaurs (the largest collection of the works of Jim Gary), and improvements to the Visitor Center entrance experience and the Florida wildlife area are only the first results of the new interpretive approach. The community takes pride in its Museum, one of the few in the nation that combines historical buildings with displays of native wildlife in large natural habitats in a biologically beautiful and diverse setting.

Artifacts Collections

The Museum is an invaluable resource to the community and the region because of its collections - the buildings, the animals and the artifacts. These collections preserve the region's cultural and natural heritage, serve as a resource for loans and research, and offer visitors the opportunity to see animals in a natural setting that are no longer seen in the wild; to walk in buildings preserved from another time; and to enjoy the natural environment of the region. The Museum is the only museum in the area with a regional focus, and is unequalled in the state with its displays of vernacular architecture and live animals historically native to the region.

The Museum collects, preserves, and conserves historic buildings and artifacts, live animals and natural science specimens, and archival materials that are reflective of and supportive to its mission. The Museum uses its collections in its permanent and temporary exhibits, to augment traveling exhibitions, and serve as invaluable resource for scholarly research. Through these research activities, the Museum contributes to the base of published knowledge on our state and region’s history, cultural pathways, natural environment, and indigenous wildlife. An important component of the Museum's mission is its public trust responsibility, which is fulfilled by professionally caring for and studying the collection items in its custody.

The Museum’s collections include: The Historical Collection containing: (A) 19 structures of regional significance; (B) 8,072 19th and 20th century furnishings, tools, and household items related to the region’s history; and (C) 500 Native American artifacts of regional peoples. The Natural History Collection contains 805+ artifacts including: (A) animal, mineral, and plant materials, limited to those native to the region; and (B) cultural items related to specific exhibited animals. The Living Collection comprises 6 species of native birds (33 individuals), 18 species of reptiles and amphibians (29 individuals), 4 species of fish (20 individuals), and 17 species of mammals (46 individuals). The Archives encompass 127 c.f. of materials documenting the Museum's history and its policies.

The historical buildings are a collection unique to the region. The historic houses are two of only five in the county regularly open to the public. Bellevue, the 1840s plantation house, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an example of plantation "cottage" architecture. The farm house and complex exemplify the traditional log and frame construction once prevalent in the surrounding counties and represents the agricultural lifestyle that dominated the region until the 1940s.

The Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1937 by a rural black congregation, traces its founding to a slave preacher ordained in the 1850s. Its significance led to an exhibit funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Florida A&M University. The 1890s one-room Concord schoolhouse, established to educate children of former slaves, is significant to the struggles and strides made in black education in Florida.

The live animal collection of native species, several of which are no longer present in the wild, is an important collection for the state. Their presence and means of display at the Museum provides the opportunity for education about habitat change and the interrelationships between people and animals. The Museum is one of the few places in Florida where the state's official animal, the Florida panther, is displayed and its story told. Only about 100 remain in the wild. The Museum's panthers have been the subject of numerous research projects as attempts are made to save these animals in the wild. The red wolf, another animal on exhibit, is extinct in the wild. The Museum's red wolves are part of a national red wolf captive breeding program. The Museum is one of the original zoos in the nation selected to participate in this effort, of which there are now 45.

Educational Programs

Education is central to the Museum’s mission, has a significant impact on local and regional audiences and offers a diversity of opportunities to learn about our region's natural and cultural heritage. Programs respond to the needs of the Museum's audiences by offering opportunities that: a) provide knowledge about our region's natural and culture history; b) address various styles of learning; c) instill a desire for self-motivated learning; and d) promote an understanding of the individual's role in the preservation and advancement of our natural and cultural resources.

The Museum provides a variety of educational programs, both on- and off-site, that incorporate a diversity of teaching techniques and include a high degree of object-based learning and exploratory learning situations. On-going efforts to incorporate 21st Century learning skills into the Museums programs are enhancing the Museum's impact on and relevance to its audiences. Tallahassee Tree to Tree Adventures course now makes it possible for the Museum to offer a variety of special programs as well as team building and leadership training for businesses, groups, and individuals. A summary of these programs follow.

GROUP PROGRAMS meet the educational needs of schools, tour, corporate, youth and senior citizen groups. School programs follow curriculum objectives and are correlated to the State’s educational standards. Twenty-five different topics are available as well as step-on guide services for tour operators. The addition of Tallahassee Tree To Tree Adventures has further enhanced the opportunities for interested groups with the addition of team building and night-time zip line programs.

PROGRAMS FOR INDIVIDUALS serve the lifelong learning needs of individuals ranging in age from preschool to adult. An extensive summer and day camp program for grades pre-K through 12, field trips, night walks, sleep-overs, and workshops for children and adults, and teacher training workshops are offered throughout the year. The Museum will provide over 100 college students with real life learning experiences through internships, field studies and community service opportunities.

GENERAL PUBLIC PROGRAMS reach the casual museum visitor, including tourists, with a schedule of programs requiring no registration. Twice daily “Animal Encounters,” allow visitors to meet and learn about live animals. "Discovery Stations," at various Museum locations, allow visitors to interact with objects, live animals, and other teaching tools as they explore a topic at their own pace. Guided tours, nature walks, audio tours and video programs also are offered. Elsewhere at the Museum, living history demonstrators bring our 1880s farm and historic buildings to life with demonstrations of blacksmithing, cooking, sewing, gardening, and other historical activities.

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS give children, from 1 1/2 to 5 years of age, experiential learning opportunities through full-year, full-day, and partial-day programs, two of which are Florida Voluntary Pre-K classes. Our preschool staff also provides training to other preschool teachers, especially in the subject areas of natural science and history. This program is one of the most sought after programs for young children in this region. The Museum’s preschool programs is nationally recognized and accredited by the Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment (APPLE) and recognized with the Gold Seal Quality of Care by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

OUTREACH PROGRAMS carry the Museum’s educational programs and resources throughout the region to nursing homes, schools, community centers, events sponsored by other organizations and private homes. The “Traveling Trunk” program provides learning resources to a variety of local and regional audiences. These trunks, covering 10 topics, are filled with hands-on objects and curriculum materials and can be used as classroom learning stations or temporary exhibits.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS are developed upon request to meet the needs of special audiences. These programs can include classroom or afterschool assistance to teachers to help them incorporate science into their curriculum and meet FCAT standards. Other programs serve as mobile science labs with Museum educators traveling to community centers, Park and Recreation programs and libraries with equipment and supplies needed to implement science learning projects with weather stations, gardens, and live animals. The Museum has specially designed and implemented programs to assist organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs, PACE Center for Girls, Turn About, Scouts, Tallahassee Housing Authority and many others.

The Museum annually offers approximately 1,600 programs to school and tour groups and individual, family and community-based audiences. Programs encompass living history and natural science demonstrations, classes, science labs, workshops, tours, teacher training, lectures, preschool, after-school, Traveling Trunks, and summer and day camps. In all, the Museum serves approximately 150,000 people through its education programs.

    Facilities

    The Tallahassee Museum is a 52-acre property with 20 acres of trails and natural areas on a chain of lakes in southwest Tallahassee. The 20-acre Wildlife Florida exhibit area features 13 natural habitat enclosures featuring native wildlife of the region along a half mile trail of elevated boardwalks and an animal care facility. Also along the Wildlife Florida trail is the display of Jim Gary's 20th Century Dinosaurs featuring 12 large outdoor sculptures of dinosaurs.

    Adjacent to and north of the Wildlife Florida area is an undeveloped natural area with a half mile nature trail. Occupying five acres east of the nature trail area is a one and a half story 1840s historic plantation house with associated kitchen/cook’s quarters, slave cabin, and garden/yard; schoolhouse; church; and caboose. These structures are clustered within eyesight of each other and linked by interpretive elements and landscaped pathways.

    The five-acre, 1880s farm complex has a single-pen log house and ten frame or log outbuildings, seven restored and three reconstructed. On the remaining acreage, between the farm on the south and the historic buildings and natural areas on the north, is the starting point for the Tallahassee Tree To Tree Adventures, featuring three aerial adventure courses with ziplines. All told, over 70 aerial obstacles and ziplines crossover Museum buildings, exhibits and trails.

    Also within the above area are ten contemporary buildings in a centralized area: an entrance Visitor Center (admissions, museum store, meeting room, restrooms, and director's office); a changing exhibits gallery; a natural science exhibit building; a Discovery Center; classrooms; an "outdoor" classroom/reptile exhibit; an administrative building (exhibits, education, administration, membership, and development offices) with lobby exhibit space for a Model T; an outdoor stage with seating area; the Trail Break Café with enclosed eating space and restrooms; a picnic area; and a maintenance facility (exhibit preparation/maintenance building with office space, woodworking shop, materials storage, tools, equipment, supplies, vehicles, etc.).

    Governance

    The Museum is a 501(c)(3), private, nonprofit Florida corporation with a board of trustees vested with the policy management activities of the corporation subject to the law, the articles of incorporation, and bylaws. The board functions in seven major areas: 1) fulfilling the mission, corporate obligations, and standards of AAM accreditation; 2) policy making; 3) hiring and relating to the executive director/CEO; 4) strategic planning; 5) fund raising; 6) financial development; and 7) interaction with the community. Trustees are elected to one-year terms and may serve up to six consecutive terms. Candidates for the board are recruited based upon Museum needs and their skills, abilities, and commitment to the financial and programmatic advancement of the Museum's standing in the community, region, state, and nation. The board meets at least six times a year. Board committees currently include: executive (officers and key committee chairs), audit, governance, development, finance and collections committees. As needed, the president of the board also appoints task forces composed of trustees, staff, and other outside expertise to resolve and/or advise the board on short-term, targeted issues. Committees meet as needed.

    Services

    Gift Shop

    Special Event Rental

    Restaurant

    Group Tours