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.

Thank you to WUFT Media for featuring us on their program “Greater Good.”

Mission Statement

Our mission is to preserve and interpret the history of Gainesville, Alachua County, and the surrounding regions.

Vision Statement

The Matheson is an inclusive hub for preserving and interpreting the history of Alachua County. As a cultural fixture, for nearly 30 years we have maintained a link with the past through our collections and historic buildings. The Matheson is a leader in cultivating our shared history and enriching the quality of diverse programming through our partnerships, programs, exhibits, and collections. Through collaborations with local organizations and leaders, and the Alachua County community, we create spaces for understanding, discussing, and interpreting the meaning of our shared experiences.

Diversity Statement

The governing board, staff, and volunteers of the Matheson History Museum stand for diversity, inclusion, and racial justice in our mission to preserve and interpret the rich and complicated history of Alachua County and the surrounding regions. We commit to respect, value, and celebrate our diverse community by acknowledging the unique attributes, characteristics, and perspectives of individuals or groups, past, present and future through our partnerships, programs, exhibits, and collections. We strive for diverse and inclusive participation, thought, and action in all of our activities.

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 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.