Current Exhibit

River of Dreams: The St. Johns and Its Springs

Held over for a limited time

This original exhibition examines Floridians’ past, present and future relationship with the St. Johns River and its springs. Dr. Briley Rasmussen, Director of Museum Studies at the University of Florida, is the lead curator of the exhibition. Guest curators include Dr. Whitney Sanford, Professor of Religion at the University of Florida, and Ms. Florence Turcotte, Literary Collections Archivist at George A. Smathers Libraries. University of Florida museum studies, religion and sustainability graduate and undergraduate students assisted with exhibition research and installation.

The exhibition includes original work by photographers Anne Ledbetter and Bruce Mozert; artifacts from Kingsley Plantation and the Silver Glen Springs shell mound; documents and images on loan from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Library, Special & Area Studies Collections, and the Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper project; and images of the St. Johns River, Ocklawaha River and Silver Springs from the Matheson’s photographic, stereographic and postcard collections. River of Dreams was funded in part by grants from Visit Gainesville, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.

Upcoming Programs

Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s
with Kimberly Wilmot Voss
Saturday, August 26th
2pm – FREE

​​The Matheson History Museum is thrilled to welcome back Kimberly Wilmot Voss to discuss her latest book, Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s in celebration of Women’s Equality Day.

“Women Politicking Politely” covers the relatively unknown stories of six women who helped lay the foundation for advancing women’s equality in the U.S. They largely worked behind the scenes but were equally important as the leaders of the women’s liberation movement. These particular women were chosen for the book because of their interactions with each other as they rallied around a common cause and because they have been overshadowed in history. Many of the stories center on Washington, D.C., but also include such cities as Madison, Wisconsin and Miami, Florida.

Quest for Blackbeard
​with Baylus Brooks
Tuesday, September 19
​6pm – FREE

Join us on “Talk Like a Pirate Day” to hear about the fascinating life of Edward Thache, better known as Blackbeard. Maritime historian Baylus Brooks will discuss his book, Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World. A book signing will follow his presentation.

Born into a substantial family in Bristol, England, the eldest son of Capt. Edward and Elizabeth Thache sailed for Jamaica with his family sometime before 1695. Capt. Edward Thache of St. Jago de la Vega or “Spanish Town” died there at age 47 while his son, Edward “Blackbeard” Thache, Jr. joined the British Royal Navy and fought in Queen Anne’s War aboard the HMS Windsor. After years of research this progressive book illustrates the flaws in Capt. Charles Johnson’s famous 1724 book, A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, and attempts to rediscover exactly who Blackbeard was.

Matheson Antique, Vintage Floridiana & Rare Book Sale
Saturday, September 23
10am-5pm – FREE

This event is free and open to the public and will feature vendors from all over Florida, including the Matheson. Visitors will be able to view and purchase a unique selection of Floridiana, historic postcards, rare books, antiques and other memorabilia. Refreshments will be available for purchase; proceeds from refreshment sales will benefit the Matheson.

Vendors: For information on fees and an application please click here. Applications and fees are due by August 31st.

150 Years of Matheson History
Saturday, November 4
6pm – 9pm
Tickets: $250 each with sponsorship opportunities

Join us as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 1867 Matheson House! We will honor four families whose ancestors were in Alachua County 150 years ago at a special dinner featuring period music and dishes that would have been served in this area at the time. SesquiSENSATIONAL is a Keith Watson Events production. Please contact for details on this special anniversary event and program sponsorships.

Idylwild Cowgirls
with Debra Segal
Thursday, November 16
6pm – FREE

The Matheson History Museum is excited to welcome local author Debra Segal to discuss her young adult adventure novel, Idylwild Cowgirls. A book signing will follow her presentation.

Set in 1973, the book follows a group of adventurous young cowgirls through their many escapades along the roads and trails of rural south Gainesville.  The story straddles the line between fiction and nonfiction.  Most of the adventures are based on true stories from an authentic group of girls who lived in the Idylwild neighborhood. Paynes Prairie, with its unimaginable number of snakes and alligators, plays prominently in the book.