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 displays historic tools from various industries ranging from lumber to electrical engineering. 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.


Peggy Macdonald, Ph.D.                                              Kaitlyn Hof-Mahoney
Executive Director                                                        Curator of Collections
director@mathesonmuseum.org                              curator@mathesonmuseum.org

Joanna Grey Talbot
Director of Marketing

Board of Directors

Board President – Anita Spring, Ph.D. Caleb King, D.D.S., M.Sc.D.
Vice President – Greg Young Ronnie Lovler
Treasurer – Paul Avery, Ph.D. Ashley Milam
Secretary – Pamela Robb Robert Mounts
Steven Butler Louise Newman, Ph.D.
Charles Cobb, Ph.D. Dulce Román.
Fletcher Crowe, Ph.D. Pat Schmidt, Ph.D.
Nancy Hunt, Ph.D. Jon Sensbach, Ph.D.
Morris Hylton Desmon Walker

Emeritus Board Members

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

Advisory Council


Barbara Anderson David Menet
Jean Chalmers Jeff Montgomery
Cynthia Chestnut Rebecca Nagy, Ph.D.
Ron Cunningham Georgia Rolfe
Don Davis Carla Summers
Clayton Kallman Marilyn Tubb
Linda Kallman Albert White
Ken McGurn Barbara Wingo
Linda McGurn