About Us

Since its grand opening in 1994, the Matheson History Museum has been an integral part of our city’s cultural landscape, welcoming visitors from north central Florida and beyond. We strive to make the museum accessible and welcoming to all.

Museum Complex

  • Matheson History Museum: The Matheson History Museum’s main exhibition gallery and Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall are housed in the former American Legion Hall, which was repurposed as a museum in 1994. All programs take place in the museum. The museum’s offices are also housed in this building, which is located at 513 East University Avenue.
  • Matheson Library & Archives: Located at 418 East University Avenue in the historic Gainesville Gospel Tabernacle building, which was built in 1933, it was renovated and restored by the museum in 2016. The Matheson History Museum library collection includes more than 20,000 historic Florida postcards, 1,500 stereograph cards, and myriad maps, photographs, documents, books and artifacts.
  • 1867 Matheson House: The Matheson House, one of the three oldest residences in Gainesville, was completed in 1867 by James Douglas Matheson, an emigrant from South Carolina and a prominent merchant. For more information on this historic home please visit the Matheson House page.
  • Tison Tool Barn: Gifted to the museum in 1993, the Tison Tool Barn houses the extensive historic tool collection of John Mason Tison, Jr. It contains over 1,000 tools from the 1850s to the early 20th century. Please call the museum at 352-378-2280 to schedule a tour.
  • Sweetwater Park: This park is located directly behind the museum and maintained jointly by the Matheson History Museum and the City of Gainesville. The museum is in the process of installing a cell phone tour which will give visitors an overview of downtown Gainesville’s history. The park is free and open to the public.


A quarterly newsletter is sent to all members for free. Feel free to peruse back issues to learn more about the Matheson and its programs.


Dixie Neilson, M.A.                                                             Kaitlyn Hof-Mahoney, M.A.
Executive Director                                                              Curator of Collections
dixneilson@mathesonmuseum.org                           curator@mathesonmuseum.org

Joanna Grey Talbot, M.A.
Director of Marketing

Board of Directors

Anita Spring, Ph.D. – Board President Caleb King, D.D.S., M.Sc.D.
Ashley Milam – Vice President Ronnie Lovler
Paul Avery, Ph.D. – Treasurer Robert T. Mounts
Pat Schmidt, Ph.D. – Secretary Louise Newman, Ph.D.
Charles Cobb, Ph.D. E. Stanley Richardson
Fletcher Crowe, Ph.D. Dulce Román
Carolyn L. Hufty Ruth L. Steiner, Ph.D.
Lizzie P. R. B. Jenkins Greg Young

Emeritus Board Members

Donald Caton, M.D.
Mae Clark
Mary Ann H. Cofrin
Larry Lokken
Ann Smith, R.N.

Advisory Council

Marilyn Tubb – Chair Linda Kallman
Barbara Anderson Jeff Montgomery
Jean Chalmers Georgia Rolfe
Cynthia Chestnut Carla Summers
Don Davis Albert White
Clayton Kallman Barbara Wingo