Screening of Behind Closed Doors: The Dark Legacy of the Johns Committee

with the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida

Thursday, October 21


FREE but registration required (in-person and virtual)

The Matheson History Museum and Pride Community Center of North Central Florida invite you to join them at the Matheson for the screening and discussion of the 2000 documentary Behind Closed Doors: The Dark Legacy of the Johns Committee. This program coincides with one of the Matheson’s current exhibitions – McCarthy Moment: The Johns Committee in Florida.

For the safety of staff and attendees, capacity will be limited to 50 people and masks are required. Admission is free but registration is required: You can also attend virtually via Zoom webinar:

This award-winning documentary was produced by Allyson A. Beutke, a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. The film explores the dark legacy of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, better known as the Johns Committee, which was created by State Senator Charley Eugene Johns in 1956 to uncover subversive activity in Florida.

From 1958-1959 the Johns Committee tried to weed out Communists and homosexuals from the University of Florida. Committee members threatened people with exposure and prison if they did not cooperate. This reign of terror led to dozens of professors and students leaving the university.

Downtown Festival & Art Show

Saturday and Sunday, November 6 – 7



Join us for the 40th annual Downtown Festival & Art Show in historic downtown Gainesville! The Matheson will have a booth and we would love for you to stop by to see us. We’ll have information about upcoming programs and events plus freebies!

More information:

Florida’s Negro War: Black Seminoles and the Second Seminole War

with Dr. Anthony Dixon

Saturday, November 13


FREE but registration is required (virtual only)

Author and historian Dr. Anthony Dixon will join us virtually via Zoom webinar to share about his book Florida’s Negro War: Black Seminoles and the Second Seminole War on Saturday, November 13 at 4pm.

Registration is free:

From 1817 to 1858, the United States government engaged in a bitter conflict with the Seminole Nation. This conflict would result in three distinct wars. The Second Seminole War (1835-1842) was conducted under the Indian Removal Policy of the 1830’s. This war was a result of the American plantation societies’ relentless efforts to enslave the Black Seminole population. The United States government’s objective became to return as many Black Seminoles as possible, if not all, to slavery.

Evidence proves that the efforts of the U.S. military to place Blacks in bondage were not only a major underlying theme throughout the War, but at various points, the primary goal. It is clear that from the onset of the war, the United States government, military, and state militias grossly underestimated both the determination and the willingness of the Black Seminole to resist at all costs. Thus, this book not only makes the argument that the Second Seminole War was indeed a slave rebellion, but perhaps the most successful one in United States history.

The Life She Wished to Live

with Ann McCutchan

Friday, November 19


FREE but registration is required

The Matheson History Museum is excited to welcome author Ann McCutchan to discuss her latest book The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Author of “The Yearling.” This program is hosted in partnership with the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the University of Florida Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.

For the safety of staff and attendees, capacity will be limited to 50 people and masks are required. Admission is free but registration is required: A virtual option via Zoom is available for those who cannot attend in person:

Washington, DC, born and Wisconsin educated, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was an unlikely author of a coming-of-age novel about a poor central Florida child and his pet fawn―much less one that has become synonymous with Floridian literature writ large.

Rawlings was a tough, passionate, and independent woman who refused the early-twentieth-century conventions of her upbringing. Determined to forge a literary career beyond those limitations, she found her voice in the remote hardscrabble life of Cross Creek, Florida. Between hunting alligator and managing an orange grove, Rawlings employed her sensitive eye, sharp ear for dialogue, and philosophical spirit to bring to life an unknown corner of America in vivid, tender detail―a feat that earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1938.

The Life She Wished to Live paints a lively portrait of Rawlings, her contemporaries―including her legendary editor Maxwell Perkins and friends Zora Neale Hurston and Ernest Hemingway―and the Florida landscape and people that inspired her.

Holiday Home Tour

with Sweetwater Branch Inn, Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast, and Laurel Oak Inn

Saturday, December 11


Tickets $15 – on sale starting November 13

Gainesville’s cherished holiday event is back! On December 11th attendees will be able to tour four Victorian homes in Gainesville’s Bed and Breakfast District – 1867 Matheson House, Sweetwater Branch Inn, Laurel Oak Inn, Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast – plus the Matheson History Museum and Tison Tool Barn.

The popular event – which has not taken place since 2009 – will allow guests to explore these homes magnificently decorated for the holidays. Tickets are $15 and will go on sale Saturday, November 13 at A limited number of tickets will be available so purchase yours early! Proceeds will benefit the Matheson History Museum.

The walking tour is less than a mile and begins at the Matheson History Museum. It will take place from 5pm to 7:30pm. Attendees will enjoy refreshments such as spiced cider and holiday cookies at the Matheson History Museum.

Featured image: Author and historian Lizzie Robinson Jenkins, courtesy of Cool Blue Photography