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 is 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. This fall will be the grand opening of the Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall in the former research library. It will provide additional space for temporary and permanent exhibits on local and Florida history.
  • Matheson Library & Archives: The Matheson History Museum is expanding! The museum has renovated the former Melting Pot building at 418 East University Avenue, originally the site of the Gainesville Gospel Tabernacle. The museum’s library and archives will be relocated to the newly restored building in the fall of 2017.
  • 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. Jason Stanford
Executive Director Director of Development & Grants
director@mathesonmuseum.org development@mathesonmuseum.org
Bobby Parker Joanna Grey Talbot
Librarian & Archivist Director of Marketing
librarian@mathesonmuseum.org info@mathesonmuseum.org

Board of Directors

Board President – Anita Spring, Ph.D. Morris Hylton
President-elect – Lawrence D. Reynolds Caleb King, D.D.S., M.Sc.D.
Treasurer – Larry Lokken Ronnie Lovler
Secretary – Pamela Robb Louise Newman, Ph.D.
Steven Butler Dulce Román
Mae Clark Jon Sensbach, Ph.D.
Charles Cobb, Ph.D. Greg Young
Fletcher Crowe, Ph.D.

Emeritus Board Members

Donald Caton, M.D.
Mary Ann H. Cofrin
Ann Smith, R.N.

Advisory Council

Jean Chalmers Linda McGurn
Cynthia Chestnut David Menet
Ron Cunningham Jeff Montgomery
Don Davis Rebecca Nagy, Ph.D.
Clayton Kallman Georgia Rolfe
Linda Kallman Marilyn Tubb
Ken McGurn Terry Van Nortwick
Albert White