I had a funny encounter yesterday. Shopping in a grocery store, I spoke to avid traveler Ernie who told me he had read my blog about Tallahassee and wanted to assure me that he had no plans to go there. Ruth later took him a treat, a Victorian candy sample from our favorite Tallahassee attraction Lofty Pursuits. It’s true that Tallahassee wasn’t my all-time favorite destination, but I don’t want to keep others from going there. I just want to be as truthful as I can about my experience. In addition to the candy-making, Ruth and I enjoyed the old capitol building. However, we did not like the locally praised and near-the-capitol Museum of Florida History.
The Museum of Florida History (MFH) is one of those institutions that overwhelms the visitor. It’sTALLassee Here commends it for having 45,700 artifacts. It seemed to me that all of them have been on display since it opened in 1977 in its 11 mostly huge rooms. Any museum that begins with a giant armadillo and a mastodon skeleton, has an area called Grandma’s Attic, and presents a historic general store exhibit is going to be too much for me. It’s one of those attractions where I look for memorable objects to study but forget about the place as soon as I leave the final exhibit area, in this case the Changing Exhibit Gallery. The 1st gallery was called “Florida’s First People” and contained the diorama that is up top. It’s prominently featured in MFH’s chief brochure along with the Knott House Museum. The Knott family’s 1840s home next door to MFH is where the Emancipation Proclamation was announced in Florida, and we were encouraged to visit it and “step back in time”. At least admission is free for both. If you like this kind of attraction, you’ll love MFH.
After I saw a re-created steamboat and some very old autos, a citrus packing warehouse, and had a complete review of Florida history, I paused to recall what I had learned that I didn’t already know before I entered. Seminole is a mixture of various tribes, and after 3 bloody wars most of them were dead. I already knew that the part of the state below The Panhandle was undeveloped after the Civil War but I did not know that steamboats thrived on Florida’s northern rivers. I didn’t know that when tourism developed in the 20th century, autos brought out-of-staters who were labeled “tin can tourists” by locals. Ruth bought a glass hummingbird in the gift show for our daughter. She really likes it.
I yawned a lot during the film about Florida history that included footage of the Weeki Wachee “famous live mermaid show”.