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Museums and Galleries

A city that’s more than 450-years-old, Pensacola boasts a rich history. Stories of the past are preserved for the future in both indoor and outdoor venues. No static museums here. They are all interactive, engaging and even breathtaking. Local museums provide venues for entertainment and education ranging in topic from the history of naval aviation, the history of Florida and the voices of Pensacola’s own diverse past. 

Climb on historical forts, crawl into real cockpits, go on a ghost hunt or go back decades and relive life in the Colonial times at the city’s many centers for learning.  Centers for the arts are diverse as well. Visitors will find traditional museums, modern art galleries as well as a handful of galleries and shops along downtown's Palafox Street. These venues showcase the imaginations and keen eyes of local artists who produce everything from handcrafted jewelry to stunning photographs.

Museums that Thrill, Educate, and Engage

Use all of your senses when you visit the museums unique to Pensacola. Touch and see inside dozens of planes at the National Naval Aviation Museum, where more than 150 restored military aircraft are on display within a 350,000 square foot exhibition space. It’s one of the top museums in the country and includes an IMAX theater, rides, Blue Angel jets you can climb on as well as the chance to watch the amazing Blue Angels practice their air routines live. 

Smell the food in Historic Pensacola Village when you embark on one of several walking tours of this old village filled with historic homes and churches. You’ll watch costumed guides cook, make candles and even brew Native American black tea.

Listen to recorded oral histories at the Voices of Pensacola multicultural center where you’ll learn more about the diverse characters that played a part in establishing Pensacola, the City of Five Flags.  Specific information and art from some of the earliest inhabitants of Pensacola, the Southeastern Creek Indians, can be found at the Perdido Key Indian Museum.

Venture through the woods to get a “taste” of what industry was like back in the 1860s at the Arcadia Mill site, home to a historic textile factory and now the site of a large archaeological dig.   You’ll definitely “dig” the view and the ghostly stories that come from the historic Pensacola Lighthouse. Climb the 177 stairs to the top of the Lighthouse, built in 1859 and enjoy glorious views of the emerald waters and white sand beaches along the Pensacola Pass. The Pensacola Lighthouse beacon still serves ships sailing along our coasts today.

Diverse Art Forms on Display

Modern, funky, traditional, and amazing are some of the adjectives that describe the works of art you’ll find on the walls of Pensacola’s museums, galleries and art education centers.

Immerse yourself in more than 600 works of art on display at the Pensacola Museum of Art. The museum’s permanent collection is a mix of 20th and 21st Century works of art by national, international and regionally acclaimed artists including Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and John James Audubon. Rotating exhibits enlighten and entertain both adults and children, with exhibitions geared toward families during the summer months.

The Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts showcases contemporary art and serves as a teaching gallery for the students in the Visual Arts program at Pensacola State College. It’s always filled with paintings, photography and sculpture works from professional artists to inspire current students and the local community.  It’s on track to become a regional hub for visiting artists and national exhibits, already attracting exhibits from Steve McCurry and Christo.

Modern, one-of-a-kind sculptures, paintings, and photos are on display year round at the funky Artel gallery. Art cooperatives and galleries along Palafox Street showcase local artwork that depicts the beauty of the beach and more. And, First City Art Center is a working art center for sculpting, glass blowing, pottery and painting that produces colorful, fun gallery exhibits throughout the year.

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