This exhibition has been created in-house by museum staff in collaboration with the Museum Exhibit and Program Committee. Through the stories of new settlers’ contributions and sacrifices, visitors will come to understand how and why Inverness came to be. Learn the town’s founding fathers, how Inverness got its name and the industries that sustained the town through land booms and depressions.
Along the way, learn interesting bits of history you may never have heard before. For example, did you know Inverness was first known as La Belle, then Tompkinsville, before it got the name it carries with pride today? This exhibition pays tribute to the contributions of servicemen and women of Inverness from the Second Seminole War to today but also explores the hilarious antics of young teenaged pranksters in the 1950s. We share the trials and tribulations of daily life throughout the years, (anyone remember scrubbing the laundry by hand?), but also the larger changes in growth and development that have shaped the city into what it is today. The stories that makeup Inverness are diverse and varied; they can be humorous, solemn, daring, or downright silly, but they are all interesting and entertaining!
Pre- History Gallery
The Brannen Family Gallery of Pre-History houses an exhibition titled, Changing People, Changing Springs - Chassahowitzka Discovered.
Chassahowiztka Springs has been described as a time capsule of Florida history. Beginning with the Paleoindians, who arrived here some 10,000 years ago, to more recent tourists who arrived by steamship and train, people have left tantalizing clues about their sojourns at the Springs. Divers, with assistance from archeologists, have recovered everything from ancient wooden paddles, to Spanish pottery shards, to kerosene lamps and old Coke bottles. These artifacts and many more, will soon be on display at the Museum.
The springs, with their fresh water and abundant fish and game, have always been natural gathering places for people. The hundreds of artifacts recovered from their depths make up one of the largest collections to be displayed in Citrus County. Some of the really significant finds are a 10,000 year old Suwannee projectile point from the Paleoindian period, two wood paddles/oars (about 2,500 years old), a wood cypress fin effigy, an intact Pasco Plain bowl (AD 100–1500), a Spanish majolica plate (1600s), and Chattachoochee brushed pottery pieces (1700s).
Some of the artifacts from more recent times include soda and pharmacy bottles that are 150 years old! Amazingly, divers even brought up a very rare Ford battery sign from the 1930s. CNN reporter Tom Watkins described it this way: “The Springs cleanup yielded a cornucopia of history.”
The exhibit includes artifacts (rare and one of a kind), maps, photos, interpretive panels, and interactive areas, including a net-making table for children and a “Test Yourself” quiz game for all ages.
Local History Gallery
Local History- A second permanent gallery the Mary MacRae Gallery of History houses an exhibition titled, A Long Way Home, which interprets the history of Citrus County from about 1887, at the forming of the county until present. Displayed in this gallery are interpretative panels on the county’s many early industries. Discover the role that Citrus Countians have played in the many wars over the years that have affected Florida and our area. On display is one of the original clock faces from the clocktower, where women volunteered as spotters to look for enemy planes during WWII. These volunteers signed their names on the back of the clock face. Originally, this was part of the area that housed the Citrus County Property Appraiser and Tax Collector offices.
January - March 2020: Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow and Centennial Faces
Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow explores the struggle for full citizenship and racial equality that unfolded in the 50 years after the Civil War. When slavery ended in 1865, a period of Reconstruction began, leading to such achievements as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. By 1868, all persons born in the United States were citizens and equal under the law. But efforts to create an interracial democracy were contested from the start. A harsh backlash ensued, ushering in a half century of the “separate but equal” age of Jim Crow.
Opening to mark the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the exhibition is organized chronologically from the end of the Civil War to the end of World War I and highlights the central role played by African Americans in advocating for their rights. It also examines the depth and breadth of opposition to black advancement. Art, artifacts, photographs, and media will help visitors explore these transformative decades in American history, and understand their continuing relevance today. Curated by Marci Reaven, vice president of history exhibitions, and Lily Wong, assistant curator at the New York Historical Society.
April-May 2020: Art Teachers Art
May 2020: Citrus High School Senior Art and Photography
June-July 2020: To Costa Rica and Back
August-September 2020: Citrus County Then and Now: Neighborhood Snapshots
The Citrus County Historical Society, Citrus Cultural Alliance, and photographer Rebecca Pujals-Jones are proud to present the first Neighborhood Snapshots photography program at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum. Participants of the eight photography workshops will be sharing their artwork in this exciting new exhibit that combines art and our local history. See photographs from "Back Then" (between 1850 to 1970) of Citrus County buildings, parks, beaches, monuments, landmarks, events, festivals, parades, farms, factories, facilities, people, and places. Then see them recreated or what they look like today through the eyes of local photographers.
October-November 2020: Community- A Juried Art Quilt Quilt Exhibit
The Old Courthouse Heritage Museum is pleased to announce their first juried art quilt exhibit to be unveiled in October of 2020. The exhibition is titled “Community” and the museum is putting out a call for entries statewide. Both accomplished quilt artists and conventional quilters looking to try something new are encouraged to enter.
Selected pieces will express the artist’s vision of community. Cash prizes will be offered for the top three quilts: $200 for first place, $150 for second place, and $100 for third place. Museum guests will also have the opportunity to vote on their favorite quilt. The Viewer’s Choice winner will receive $50.
December 2020-January 2021: Holiday Traditions in Florida
On holidays we commemorate significant historical events, celebrate new years or new seasons, or honor our heritage. The variety of holiday traditions in Florida reflects the state’s cultural and ethnic diversity. Although Floridians may celebrate different holidays or have different customs, holidays help to unite family, friends, and neighbors and to strengthen our common bonds. Using photographs from the past and present, Holiday Traditions in Florida examines how Floridians have celebrated these special days.