​​​​​​​​​​The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea

Book Launch 

The launch for Dr. Jack E. Davis's new book, The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea, was recorded by C-SPAN on March 19 and appeared on Book TV. Watch the episode here. Signed copies of The Gulf are available at the Matheson book shop.

"Lost Springs" Film Screening and Panel Discussion with Matt Keene, Margaret Tolbert, Karen Chadwick and Lisa Rinaman

Friday, June 23

6 p.m. – FREE​

Matt Keene's new documentary, "Lost Springs," chronicles the Ocklawaha River's hidden springs that return to life every three to five years when there is a drawdown at Rodman Reservoir, which--along with the George Kirkpatrick Dam--is part of the defunct Cross Florida Barge Canal. Filmmaker Matt Keene, springs artist Margaret Tolbert, boat captain and environmental activist Karen Chadwick and St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman will share stories about the beautiful lost springs and the fight for their restoration.

Bartram's Battle Lagoon

​History Paddle Tour with Lars Andersen

Saturday, June 24

​Costs Vary

This 3 hour out-and-back tour includes a visit to the site of the most dramatic (and famous) event in Bartram's "Travels," the alligator swarm and attack at the place he called "Battle Lagoon. Participants will also take a short stroll through his nearby campsite. What makes this site especially fascinating is that it looks almost exactly as Bartram described it almost two and a half centuries ago--right down to the wild sour orange trees!

For information about cost, meet-up time/location and to reserve your spot please contact Lars directly. You can reach Lars at riverguide2000@yahoo.com or 386-454-0611. No reservations or payments can be made via the Matheson.

A Tea with Zora and Marjorie

​Friday, July 21, & Saturday, July 22

​7pm - $10, limited tickets

​The Matheson History Museum, Friends of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, and UF’s George A. Smathers Libraries are thrilled to bring A Classic Theatre (ACT) of St. Augustine’s production of "A Tea with Zora and Marjorie" by Dr. Barbara Speisman to the Matheson. Tickets, which are limited, are $10 and available for purchase at www.zora-marjorie.eventbrite.com (7/21 show) and www.zora-marjorie2.eventbrite.com (7/22 show). Proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm.

​Directed by Jean Rahner, "A Tea with Zora and Marjorie" imagines the conversation between two of Florida’s best loved writers during their first meeting in 1942 at Rawlings’ upstairs apartment at the segregated Castle Warden hotel in St. Augustine, and their ensuing conversation over “tea” – a colloquialism for whiskey! The Castle Warden Hotel was run by Rawlings’ husband, Norton Baskin.

Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s
with Kimberly Wilmot Voss
Saturday, August 26th
2pm - FREE

​​The Matheson History Museum is thrilled to welcome back Kimberly Wilmot Voss to discuss her latest book "Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s."

"Women Politicking Politely" covers the relatively unknown stories of six women who helped lay the foundation for advancing women’s equality in the U.S. They largely worked behind the scenes but were as equally important as the leaders of the women’s liberation movement. These particular women were chosen for the book because of their interactions with each other as they rallied around a common cause and beause they have been overshadowed in history. Many of the stories center on Washington, D.C., but also include such cities as Madison, Wisconsin, and Miami, Florida.

Matheson Antique, Vintage Floridiana,

& Rare Book Sale

Saturday, September 23

10am-5pm - FREE

This event is free and open to the public and will feature vendors from all over Florida, including the Matheson. Visitors will be able to view and purchase a unique selection of Floridiana, historic postcards, rare books, antiques and other memorabilia. Refreshments will be available for purchase and proceeds will benefit the Matheson.

Vendors: For information on fees and an application please click here. Applications and fees are due by August 31st.

Parking is available on the east side of the museum, at the Law Offices of Attorneys Folds & Walker, and the Kirby Smith Administration Building

Passengers board a steamer in Palatka, ca. 1900. Image from the Matheson Postcard Collection.

Artist Margaret Tolbert paints Cannon Springs on the Ocklawaha River during the 2015-2016 Rodman Reservoir drawdown. Photo by Karen Chadwick.

513 E University Avenue Gainesville FL 32601 US
Hours:      11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday

The museum also holds special events at night and on the weekends. Please see our events page for updated information. The Matheson History Museum is free and open to the public (donations are encouraged).

Phone: (352) 378-2280

The Matheson History Museum's exhibitions and programs are supported in part by funding from Visit Gainesville and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

A Hart Line steamer travels along the Ocklawaha River, 1911. Image from the Matheson Postcard Collection.

​​​​​​​​​​River of Dreams:

The St. Johns and its Springs

January 21 - June 24, 2017 - FREE

This original exhibition examines Floridians' past, present and future relationship with the St. Johns River and its springs. Dr. Briley Rasmussen, Director of Museum Studies at the University of Florida, is the lead curator of the exhibition. Guest curators include Dr. Whitney Sanford, Professor of Religion at the University of Florida, and Ms. Florence Turcotte, Literary Collections Archivist at George A. Smathers Libraries. University of Florida museum studies, religion and sustainability graduate and undergraduate students assisted with exhibition research and installation.

The exhibition includes original work by photographers Anne Ledbetter and Bruce Mozert; artifacts from Kingsley Plantation and the Silver Glen Springs shell mound; documents and images on loan from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Library, Special & Area Studies Collections, and the Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper project; and images of the St. Johns River, Ocklawaha River and Silver Springs from the Matheson's photographic, stereographic and postcard collections. River of Dreams was funded in part by grants from Visit Gainesville, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.

UF religion professor Whitney Sanford talks about the spiritual connection people feel to Florida's waters, including the St. Johns and its springs, in the latest issue of Our Town Magazine. According to historian and adventure guide Lars Andersen, the first Floridians considered water sacred.

Current Exhibition


"St. Johns River, Florida," detail. Date unknown. Image from the Matheson Stereographic Collection.