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
Coming Soon! New Local History Gallery Grand Opening June 21, 2018.
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.
John Murray Davis Rotating Gallery
"Spanish Conquistadors in Florida" will be on exhibit until August 2018.
Florida Historian Michael Gannon once quipped, "By the time the Pilgrims came ashore at Plymouth, St. Augustine was up for urban renewal." Florida's history reaches much further back than many people realize, beginning with the indigenous cultures that thrived here for thousands of years. European contact came to Florida much earlier that other parts of North America as well, with the arrival of Juan Ponce de León in 1513.
This began a period of Spanish exploration and conquest in Florida that lasted over 200 hundred years. Come explore our exhibit and learn about the complex relationship between the Native Peoples of Florida and the Spanish as trade flourished in what is known as the Colombian Exchange. Get to know Juan Ponce de León, Pánfilo de Narváez, Hernando de Soto, and Pedro Menéndez de Aviles and even pose for a selfie with these Spanish Explorers. Guests can even take a step back in time and follow de Soto's path through what is now Citrus County and catch a glimpse of what life was life for those who traveled across the sea to seek fortune in Florida.