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History Museums

Pensacola’s museums offer a jaw-dropping array of must-see history. Visitors can explore immersive and interactive exhibits, delve into hands-on learning adventures and examine rare and treasured artifacts found nowhere else in North America.

Embark on a vibrant voyage through more than 450 years of history. Relive fascinating and gripping tales of battles won and lost, cultures clashing and cooperating, industries emerging and evolving, and of human tragedies and triumphs. A journey through Pensacola’s history has it all.

Historic Pensacola Village

Located downtown, Historic Pensacola Village includes 27 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eleven historic homes and sites are open to the public, including the Lavalle House (1805), the Dorr House (1871), Lear/Rocheblave House (1890) and Old Christ Church (1832), one of Florida’s oldest surviving church buildings. Visitors can explore them all to get a sense of local life in the 18th and 19th centuries and encounter a wide range of architectural styles – French Creole, Victorian, Greek Revival and more. Tours can be self-guided or taken with costumed staff who bring local history to life through reenactments, demonstrations and audience participation activities, such as butter churning, woodworking and candle making. It’s a fascinating way to experience various periods of local history, from the early Colonial era through World War II.

Museum of Commerce

Inside a turn-of-the-century brick warehouse, the Museum of Commerce is a reconstructed streetscape of businesses that operated in Pensacola between 1880 and 1910. Exhibits include historical stores for toys, hardware, music and leather goods, as well as gas station and a print shop, which contains one of the most extensive collections of antique printing presses and type in the Southeast. Horse drawn buggies and an antique local trolley car add to the nostalgia of this quaint recreation of Pensacola’s yesteryear.

Museum of Industry

An integral part of the Historic Pensacola Village complex, the Museum of Industry is housed in the historic “Hispanic Building” constructed in 1884 for the Pensacola Ice Company. Today, the site serves to illustrate the lumber, brick making, railroad, fishing and other vital industries that transformed Pensacola from a colonial wilderness into a thriving commercial center.

Pensacola Children’s Museum

Geared toward children ages 13 and under, the Pensacola Children’s Museum allows kids to explore history through hands-on play. On the first floor, the Discovery Gallery is designed to recreate life in Colonial-era Pensacola. Younger children can dress up and romp through a Colonial cottage, military fort, trading post and ship. On the second floor, older children can delve into interactive and interpretive exhibits that trace our diverse local history from its Native American roots and European exploration, through early American history and the Civil War, to the Industrial Revolution and our modern-era ties with the U.S. Navy.

T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum

The chance to explore this elegant three-story Mediterranean Revival building is reason enough to visit, but the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum also offers visitors an engrossing journey through local history. Constructed in 1907 to serve as Pensacola’s City Hall, the century-old building was transformed into the museum in the late 1980s and features several seasonal changing exhibits and a traveling exhibit. The highlight of Historic Pensacola’s flagship museum is the “City of Five Flags” exhibit, which tells the unique story of Pensacola through centuries-old artifacts, historical photographs and stories told through archaeology and preservation efforts. The exhibit covers the entire first-floor and features streamlined timelines, engaging interactives, one-of-a-kind artifacts and immersive environments, all designed to help visitors experience life in Pensacola under five different flags.

National Naval Aviation Museum

Located on Pensacola Naval Air Station, the National Naval Aviation Museum is one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida and Pensacola’s #1 attraction. See more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft, including rare and one-of-a-kind planes like the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the first to land at the South Pole, and a World War II-era trainer flown by President George H.W. Bush. Explore more than 350,000 square feet of indoor space, brimming with interactive exhibits, vintage uniforms, historical documents and immersive dioramas that bring the past to life. Take a free guided tour with a retired or active duty airman and hear stirring tales that capture the human element of our shared history.

The James Houston Jones Historic Park in Century

Located about an hour north of Pensacola, right on the Alabama line, sits the small town of Century, previously known as the village of “Teaspoon.” An old timber mill, retired railroads, and other preserved sites keep the memories alive of a Southern mill town that was built on the hope for a successful, lasting settlement that would exist long beyond the economically booming years of the timber mill. In the heart of century lies the James Houston Jones Historic Park, home to three museums operated by the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society, which are free of charge and open to the public. Starting with the Leach House, explore the everyday life of century natives at the turn of the 20th century in the original Leach home place. Next, take a tour of the boxcar museum, which features actual railcars, parts, pictures, and maps that demonstrate countless miles of travel throughout the southeast dating back to the 1800s. Lastly, stop by the 1913 post office museum, a dedication to memorabilia from the old mill, past post offices, and other sites that played a huge role in Century's development. After the tour, books written by members of the historical society allow you to continue your journey through time as you learn about how one small piece of the South endured through a changing industry, as well as other obstacles of that time period. These books are available for your viewing on-site or for purchase. One of Escambia County's best-kept secrets, a day-trip to Century is a great way to expand your knowledge of our Gulf Coast history. For available hours, call the society President, Jerry Fischer, at 850-256-3980

 

 

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