Current Exhibits

Gators and Beyond: A Sports History of Alachua County

Wednesday, August 8 to Saturday, February 16

Main Exhibit Hall

From the earliest days of the East Florida Seminary up to today when the Gators dominate, sports have always been part of the fabric of Alachua County. However, there is more to the story than just the University of Florida. Gators and Beyond: A Sports History of Alachua County, examines lesser known sports teams like the G-Men baseball team and the Fighting Terriers of Lincoln High School alongside stories like the first female cheerleader at UF.

This exhibit was made possible by a gift from Rick and Barbara Anderson.

Finding the Fountain of Youth: Exploring the Myth of Florida’s Magical Waters

Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall

This exhibit is based upon Rick Kilby’s award-winning book, Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de Leon and Florida’s Magical Waters. The former traveling exhibit was created by the Florida Museum of Natural History and was donated to the Matheson by author Rick Kilby. The exhibit examines how the legend of Ponce de Leon’s quest for restorative waters shaped the Sunshine State’s image as a land of fantasy, rejuvenation and magical spring-fed waters.

Featured Image (above) – The Gainesville G-Men, 1949 – courtesy of the Matheson History Museum collection

Upcoming Programs

Opening Reception for Gators and Beyond: A Sports History of Alachua County
Thursday, August 23

Please join us to celebrate the opening of Gators and Beyond! Many people have helped make this original exhibition happen and we want to honor them. Barbara Anderson will be in attendance and will discuss her late husband’s lifelong passion for local sports. Matheson curator Kaitlyn Hof-Mahoney will share some of the highlights of the exhibition and Matheson director Peggy Macdonald will discuss the museum’s ongoing campaign to collect local sports artifacts and memorabilia. Special guests will include representatives of the Lincoln and Mebane High School football teams, the son of UF’s first female cheerleader, a collector of Gainesville G-Men memorabilia and local sports scholar Fred Awbrey.

A Certain Loneliness: A Memoir
Book Launch
with Sandra Gail Lambert
Friday, September 14

We are honored to host the launch of Sandra Lambert’s powerful memoir, A Certain Loneliness: A Memoir. A book signing will follow her presentation.

In A Certain Loneliness Lambert probes the intersection of disability, queerness, and female desire in this frank and funny memoir of her lifelong struggle with isolation and independence after contracting polio as a child. Frustrations, slapstick moments, and grand triumphs are all couched in the long history of humanity’s relationship to the natural world. As fellow Gainesville author Lauren Groff said, “This book is an act of tremendous beauty.”

Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World
with Baylus Brooks
Wednesday, September 19

Join us on “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” to hear about the fascinating life of Edward Thache, better known as Blackbeard. 2018 is the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s death. 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.

Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life
with Jeff Klinkenberg
Friday, September 21

In his latest book Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life, Jeff Klinkenberg portrays Florida’s people, places, food, and culture with a deep understanding that does not relegate them to cliché. He writes with warmth and authenticity of a state he still sees as wondrous in its own ways. Though some may think the real Florida is a thing of the past, he says, “Do not tell me Florida is no longer a paradise.”

Klinkenberg recounts what it was like to grow up in pre-air conditioning Florida and how he became a newspaper reporter in mid-century Miami. He introduces us to the stout-hearted folks who have learned to live and even prosper among the insects, sharptoothed critters, and serious heat. He also takes us to some of the most interesting, little-known places in the state. Along the way, he stops to impart true Florida wisdom, from how to eat a Key lime pie to which writers and artists every Floridian should know.

Jeff Klinkenberg will speak at the Matheson on Friday, September 21, about his love of Florida and why the state is still so special. A book signing will follow his presentation.

The Origins of Football in Gainesville
with Fred Awbrey
Thursday, October 18

Fred Awbrey, Gainesville native and local sports historian, will share on the origins of football in the area. His years of research are the basis of the Matheson’s current exhibition, “Gators and Beyond: A Sports History of Alachua County.” He was concerned with the lack of information on local sports history and decided to do something about it. He turned a hobby into a passion and has researched everything from Gainesville High School, to Lincoln High School, to the Gainesville G-Men baseball team, and so much more!