Events

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

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

During Hurricane Irma much of our archives were moved out of the basement and into the main exhibit gallery. The museum experienced some flooding where the archives are normally stored. Due to the clean up required, we will have to postpone the Quest for Blackbeard talk. Stay tuned for a new date!

 

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.

Grand Opening of the Matheson Library & Archives and Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall
Saturday, October 14
11am – 4pm
FREE

The Matheson is excited to welcome the community to the grand opening of the Matheson Library & Archives and the Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall. The Matheson Library & Archives building is located at 418 East University Avenue and the Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall is located inside the museum at 513 East University Avenue.

Honorees Mary Ann Cofrin and Mary and Mark Barrow will be in attendance. Bobby Parker, the museum’s librarian & archivist, will lead guided tours of the library. Museum director Peggy Macdonald will give tours of the renovated museum space.

The Matheson will also host a History Harvest during the grand opening. Ann Smith, Veterans History Project Coordinator for the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, will collect names of subjects for oral history interviews to be conducted after the event at a future date. In addition, we will collect donations for the desegregation and local sports history exhibits and for our general collections. Staff will also be on hand to scan photos or documents that people are not ready to donate.

The Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall will have on display the exhibit “Finding the Fountain of Youth: Discovering 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 Ricky 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.The Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall will have on display the exhibit “Finding the Fountain of Youth: Discovering 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 Ricky 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.

An Outrage
A documentary film about lynching in the American South
Tuesday, October 24
6pm 
FREE (pre-registration via Eventbrite required)

Running time – 30 minutes

The Matheson is honored to host a showing of the powerful new documentary, “An Outrage.” The evening will also include a panel discussion with filmmakers Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren of Field Studio and University of Florida African American Studies lecturer, Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn. Space is limited for this FREE program. Please RSVP via Eventbrite. (Registration starts Oct. 1.)

“An Outrage” is a documentary film about lynching in the American South. Filmed on-location at lynching sites in six states and bolstered by the memories and perspectives of descendants, community activists, and scholars, this unusual historical documentary seeks to educate even as it serves as a hub for action to remember and reflect upon a long-hidden past.

SesquiSENSATIONAL:
150 Years of Matheson History
Saturday, November 4
5:30pm – 9:30pm
Tickets: $250 each with sponsorship opportunities

Join us as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 1867 Matheson House! We will honor five families who have played key roles in Alachua County history for at least 150 years at a special dinner featuring period music and dishes that would have been served in this area at the time. The evening will also include guided tours of the 1867 Matheson House. Please click here to purchase your tickets. SesquiSENSATIONAL is a Keith Watson Events production. Contact development@mathesonmuseum.org about sponsorship opportunities.

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.

The History of Tacachale
with Steve Noll
Thursday, January 25, 2018
6 p.m.
FREE (pre-registration via Eventbrite required)

The Matheson History Museum is honored to welcome author and historian Steve Noll to share the history of Tacachale and discuss his book, “Feeble-Minded in Our Midst: Institutions for the Mentally Retarded in the South, 1900-1940.” A book signing will follow his presentation. Space is limited for this FREE program. Please RSVP via Eventbrite. (Registration starts Dec. 1.)

Originally named the Florida Farm Colony for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic, Tacachale opened in November 1921 on 3,000 acres and was the first state-funded program for residents with developmental challenges. Today it is one of two such institutions in the state and is run by the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities. In his book, Steve Noll traces the history and development of institutions for the ‘feeble-minded,’ such as Tacachale, in the South between 1900 and 1940. He examines the influences of gender, race, and class in the institutionalization process and relates policies in the South to those in the North and Midwest, regions that had established similar institutions much earlier. At the center of the story is the debate between the humanitarians, who advocated institutionalization as a way of protecting and ministering to the mentally deficient, and public policy adherents, who were primarily interested in controlling and isolating perceived deviants.