Museum of Florida History celebrates 40th anniversary with exhibit


As soon as you walk into the exhibit, you are welcomed by a beautiful mural titled “Nature’s Paradise.”  This is the Living the Dream 20th century Florida exhibit located in the Museum of Florida History on South Bronough Street.  The exhibit has been open and viewed since October. 

The collection displays many aspects of the history of Florida after WW II, from fallout shelters during the Cold War to immigration.  

“Our permanent exhibits go up through World War II, but we really had not explored the post-World War II, 1950s to the end of the 1900s, so this was an opportunity to showcase artifacts from the museum’s collection,” said Bruce Graetz, a senior curator at the Museum of Florida History. 

The museum decided to use the exhibit to celebrate its 40th anniversary.  The purpose was to highlight the importance of the museum and display the rich history of Florida. 

“We wanted to go through the 20th century and the lessons we’ve learned and what we’ve been through.  We tried to create a space where we examine who we are as Floridians, like our identity and who we want to be in the future,” said Michelle Hearn, a senior curator at the museum. 

The exhibit includes an array of artifacts that touch on many events that took place in Florida.  You see clothes that were worn, music that was played, and even old kitchen utensils that were used in the 1900s. 

 “You can’t talk about the 20th century without talking about the beginning of the 20th century, so there is a lead in and then we get into the more things mostly after the World War II era,” said Kieran Holland, the senior registrar for the museum. 

Although the exhibit is meant to inform visitors about the 20th century, many senior citizens who visit the exhibit see it more as a time capsule.  The elderly bring their grandchildren and discusses what they witnessed during this time. 

“It opens a dialogue between the intergenerational conversations when the visitors come.  When a younger person comes and sees the history that their mother and grandmother lived through, it puts the idea in their mind that I’m living history now,” added Holland. 

The exhibit will be closing July 29. The Museum of Florida History created an event for the visitors and the staff to celebrate and say their goodbyes to the exhibit on Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Museum of Florida History by calling 850-245-6400.