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The South Florida Museum - Part II - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Places to Visit

While plotting a route from our home on Orange Tree to Anna Maria Island I had noticed that along our route was the South Florida Museum, and so we decided to drop in on our way through Bradenton. The museum also incorporates the Parker Manatee Aquarium and also the Bishop Planetarium and to find out more about these two elements of the museum please see The South Florida Museum part 1.

After visiting the Aquarium and the Planetarium my wife and I then decided to explore the galleries that make up the main part of the museum. The galleries are spread over two floors and as you enter through the main lobby the first exhibit you see in the Great Hall is a massive Mastodon which lived in Florida between ten and twelve thousand years ago. This particular specimen was found in the Aucilla River in North Florida and is the largest mastodon ever discovered in North America. Adjoining this exhibit is a depiction of a Bison hunt taking place in the Pleistocine era and a display of animal fossils from the area around the Museum. In the Tallant Gallery, named after Montague Tallant, a prolific collector of artefacts from around Florida, are some remarkable examples of some of his collection of over 5000 items.

The upstairs galleries include a fascinating Medical History display which includes re-creations of an early 20th century operating theatre, doctors office and pharmacy as well as an array of medical instruments and bottles form the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Many of the museum’s 20, 000 plus objects including textiles, decorative arts, palaeontology, archaeology, ethnography, minerals and shells are on view in the Visible Storage area and are arranged in zones which allow comparison between materials and technologies from societies all over the world.

Also on display is an original boat builders shed which has been rebuilt inside the museum and displays many original tools and some of the smaller machinery from the Bat Fogarty’s boat shop. While adjacent to this exhibit is a 1927 Model T Ford.

The nearby Pine Uplands display explores the different habitats and natural cycles of the environment of Florida’s central/west coast region. The exhibit presents a variety of habitats: scrub, flatwood and wetlands cypress swamp and its centrepiece is a pioneer cabin illustrating the lifestyle of the late 19th century.

If you want to incorporate a visit to the museum, planetarium and manatee aquarium into your travels then details of opening hours and prices can be found on the museums web site - www. southfloridamuseum. org.

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