A Family and Friends membership is less than $5 per month for unlimited family fun, and pays for itself in just 2 to 3 visits! The best recreational value in the Big Bend area is the Tallahassee Museum Membership program.
The Tallahassee Museum depends on the generosity of individuals, small businesses, corporations, foundations and planned gifts to succeed in our mission to promote knowledge and understanding of the Big Bend’s cultural history and natural environment, inspiring people to enrich their lives and build a better community.
Where North Florida’s history, nature, and wildlife intersect.
Set amidst 52 acres of breathtaking Florida flora and fauna, the Tallahassee Museum has served as an iconic Tallahassee landmark for more than 60 years. Ranked as one of Florida’s top museums, the Museum’s living exhibits of native Florida wildlife, nature trails and native gardens are renowned by visitors of all ages. The Museum encourages guests to discover and learn about North Florida’s natural environment, rich history and diverse cultural communities.
From amazing native animals and rare historic buildings to beautiful natural scenery to exciting public programs, special events, and educational programs, there’s something here for everyone.
“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another.” – Erma Bombeck
Volunteers are an integral part of the success of our programming and operations and we are thankful for their devotion to the Museum. This season, we would like to recognize some of our dedicated volunteers
Gretchen Scoggin, Collections and Exhibits Volunteer Gretchen Scoggin is a collections/exhibits volunteer. She has been volunteering for 15 years, beginning her weekly volunteer service in the collections department in August of 2002. She’s performed a variety of collections work in those 15 years – photography, cataloging, inventory, sewing accession numbers in garments, inputting records in the online collection, checking records for accuracy, etc. and has helped with exhibition installation. She’s also donated a variety of items to the Museum’s permanent collection.
Dr. Rhonda S. Work, Ph.D., Education Volunteer
After retiring 22 years ago from her successful career as a speech pathologist, Rhonda Work began volunteering at the Tallahassee Museum. As an education animal presenter, Rhonda uses her loves of travel and animals to teach Museum guests about different types of Florida wildlife during Animal Encounters. In her spare time Rhonda enjoys rescuing Burmese pythons, going on African safaris and traveling all over the world. She is a recipient of the Tallahassee Democrat’s 2017 Silver Stars award.
Girl Scout Completes Girl Scout Gold Award at Tallahassee Museum
For over a year, Girl Scout Ambassador Cynthia Paterson has been working to raise the quality of soils, water, and storm water mitigation at the museum, with the use of Green Infrastructure practices. Green Infrastructure is a form of water management that aids in flood control by mimicking the stages of the water cycle, in containing, diverting or retaining wet weather impacts with rain barrels, rain gardens, and inverted landscapes.
Cynthia recruited volunteers, designed educational materials, and on Saturday the 25th of May, she led a large group of volunteers in the improvement of three high impact areas at Tallahassee Museum–in fulfillment of requirements for her Girl Scout Gold Award.
From the President
As many noted during our 60th anniversary celebration in July, it is pretty amazing to think about where the Museum has come over 60 years… from a downtown house with several rooms of exhibits to moving to our current location in 1961! During those early years, we were probably serving a couple thousand people a year at best and now the Museum campus encompasses 52 acres, 14 historic buildings, 10 contemporary buildings, a wonderful collection of native wildlife, delivers almost 2000 programs, and serves over 180,000 people in our region a year!
I sincerely doubt many of our founders 60 years ago would have ever thought that the Museum would have come so far in such a short time. It really speaks well of their vision as well as the wonderful support we have received all of these years from so many in our community and region. I sincerely hope that 60 years from today the same can be said then as well.
In conjunction with our anniversary, we have opened a new exhibit entitled “Celebrating 60 Years of Collecting: Preserving our Region’s Identity. This wonderful exhibit highlights 60 items from the Museum’s permanent collection of over 10,000 artifacts and specimens. The exhibit nicely showcases our region’s identity as well as illustrates the important role the Museum serves in saving our region’s heritage and related stories for future generations.
I hope you will visit the exhibit in our Phipps Gallery and I especially want to encourage you to see Princess Catherine Murat’s dress which is on display in the exhibit. For those that do not know, Catherine was George Washington’s great-grandniece and was married to Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, Archille Murat, the Prince of Naples. We also have Catherine’s home, Bellevue, here at the Museum which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
This is the first time in almost 40 years since Catherine’s dress has been able to be displayed due to its fragile condition. However, we just recently had her dress restored and it is beautiful! Our abilities to conserve the dress would not have been possible if it were not for a sponsorship by the Fort San Luis Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in Tallahassee. For this we are so grateful and I was very honored and pleased to recognize a large contingent of members from the DAR who attended our birthday celebration (some select members are pictured on the left)!
As we continue to celebrate the Museum’s 60th anniversary, I also think it is worthy to note that the Museum would not be where it is today or where it wants to be in the future if it were not for the daily support provided by visitors, members, volunteers, donors, businesses and government. This support combined with the Museum’s commitment to meeting the interests and needs of our region, willingness to embrace change and demonstrating strong leadership has and will ensure the Museum remains relevant, effective and a mainstay of our region’s fabric and identity.
In the coming months and with your support and participation, you can expect to see the following:
New interpretation and aesthetic improvements to our snake and reptile exhibits at the Chapin Outdoor Classroom (Fall 2017);
New interpretive information, labels, and interactives on our Wildlife Florida Trail (Fall/Winter 2017);
New interpretation about longleaf pine habitat and prescribed burns on our Nature Trail (Spring 2018);
The annual Halloween Howl (Oct. 27 and 28), 25th annual Zoobilee: Denim and Diamonds (Nov. 10) and 52nd annual Market Days (Dec. 2 and 3)
Look forward to seeing you at the Museum and thank you for your interest, participation and generous support!
Tallahassee Museum Helps Connect the FSU Master Craftsman Studio with the James T. Gary Foundation
Pictured from left to right: Russell Daws, Arlene Berg, Sophia Baldwin, Sarah Coakley, and Jim Berg
Last fall, Jim and Arlene Berg, co-directors of the James T. Gary Foundation reached out to Russell Daws, the Museum’s President and CEO about the possibility of creating a new scholarship opportunity for a deserving art student. Mr. Daws immediately thought of Florida State’s Master Craftsman Studio — a mixed media studio creating custom artwork to serve the needs of commercial, residential, healthcare, and hospitality clients as well as Florida State University.
Daws connected the Foundation with the FSU Master Craftsman Studio almost immediately, and a short time later a full scholarship was successfully established. The opportunity was made available to any Florida student of the College of Fine Art currently enrolled in their junior or senior year.
Sophia Baldwin became the first FSU student to be awarded the James T. Gary scholarship and will have the opportunity to work with the Master Crafters on their current installations this fall. Sophia first came to the Master Craftsman Studio last fall looking for some assistance with a sculpture project. Her project was awarded Best in Show at the recent exhibit, “Synthesis” at the Working Method Contemporary Gallery at FSU.
As a thank you gift to the Foundation, Sophia designed and created a beautiful fused glass sculpture, a reference to Gary’s infamous “pink dinosaur” sculpture (pictured right). The Tallahassee Museum is honored to have been a part of this partnership between the James T. Gary Foundation and the FSU Master Craftsman Studio. Congratulations Sophia!
More about Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs
Brought to life in 1979, Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition of large, colorful sculptures of dinosaurs, made from discarded automobile parts, began an amazing journey around the world. The exhibit traveled nationally and internationally to museums and universities; was used as sets for films, plays, and operas; was presented as exhibits for national auto shows and racing events; and was presented as landscape displays in the most elegant of botanical gardens, such as Longwood Gardens on the Pierre S. du Pont estate.
In 1993, the exhibition made its southeastern U.S. debut at the Tallahassee Museum and then continued on a world-wide tour. In 2006, internationally noted artist Jim Gary, died at the early age of 66. Later, the James T. Gary Foundation was established, and efforts were pursued to preserve his memory, art, and his Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition. In 2011, the Foundation and Tallahassee Museum joined to make the Museum the home of Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs and showcase the largest restored collection of his dinosaur sculptures.
Today, 21 exhibit pieces are featured at the Museum with some spanning as much as 43 feet in length and weighing up to 4,000 pounds. In Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs, junkyard castaways get a second chance to function–transformed into graceful renditions of prehistoric creatures. They teach us lessons in art, science, technology and environmental education. Six years after the collection found its home, the Museum still works closely with the Foundation to ensure the exhibit loan is preserving the memory of the late Jim Gary.