Current Exhibitions

Gainesville’s Modern Landmarks: Celebrating our Mid-Century Architectural Past (1945-1975)

Main Exhibit Hall

This exhibition has been produced in partnership with Gainesville Modern and the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections of George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida. Every city has a period of time that defines its built environment and architectural character. For Gainesville, that moment was the mid-20th century. This exhibition highlights some of the outstanding examples of the Mid-Century style that are worthy of consideration for landmark status. The urgency of landmarking these irreplaceable resources has been heightened by the demolition of St. Michael’s Church (1975) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Nils M. Schwiezer. As Matheson Board member and Gainesville Modern president Marty Hylton says, “Landmark status, however, does not mean freezing buildings in time, but retaining them and adapting them to meet new community needs.”

Featured Image (above) – Weil-Cassisi House, courtesy of Paul Privette

Upcoming Programs

Tom Petty Symposium
with Mike Boulware, Bob Kealing, Danny Roberts, Jon Scott, and Paul Zollo
Thursday, October 17
Free registration required via (

It’s impossible to discuss the history of the Gainesville music scene without talking about Tom Petty. The Matheson will help kick off the Tom Petty Birthday Weekend by hosting the Tom Petty Symposium. Five authors and musicians, who either knew Tom personally or studied his life, will share stories and discuss the importance and impact of Tom Petty’s music. The panel will be moderated by Dan Spiess, the producer for this year’s Tom Petty Weekend festival at Heartwood Sound Stage. Join us to gain a deeper understanding of one of Gainesville’s most beloved sons.

Tom Petty Birthday Bash Kick-Off Party
at Depot Park (not at the museum)
Friday, October 18
7-11pm (VIP 5-7pm)
Free and paid tickets at

We are thrilled to be a sponsor of the 2019 Tom Petty Birthday Bash Kick-Off Party! The Birthday Bash is a FREE music festival celebrating the life and legacy of Tom Petty in his hometown of Gainesville. Matheson staff will have a booth set up in the historic depot so come visit us!

3 Days of Music. 20+ Bands. 2 Stages with beer, wine, food and art at Depot Park.
Oct. 18: Kick-Off Party (VIP 5-7pm) 7-11pm- public welcome
Oct. 19: 1pm-11pm
Oct. 20: 2pm-10:30pm- Tom Petty’s Birthday Celebration with Heavy Petty

Join over 20 local and national bands and thousands of people just like you! This is a FREE festival where everyone is welcome to celebrate. In addition to the free ticket, you can upgrade your experience to benefit the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine, and receive merchandise, luxury perks, special access to private bars and restrooms, and an invitation to the Friday night Kick-Off Party.

Winter Warrior
with Scott Camil
Saturday, November 2

We are honored to welcome anti-war and environmental activist Scott Camil back to the Matheson to discuss his brand-new graphic novel Winter Warrior (Fantagraphics, 2019), which was illustrated by cartoonist Eve Gilbert. A book signing will follow Mr. Camil’s presentation.

The year is 1965. Fresh out of high school and gung-ho to serve his country, Scott Camil joins the marines and soon finds himself in the thick of combat in Vietnam. He can never forget what he witnesses there: corrupt and incompetent leaders, the constant, sudden death of his close friends, the sadistic rape and slaughter of Vietnamese women and children—all of which bears heavily on his conscience. Returning to civilian life, Camil adopts a righteous cause: tell the American people about what’s really going on in Vietnam.

Through the unflinching personal journey of a hardened marine turned dogged anti-war activist, Winter Warrior reveals the brutal reality of the Vietnam war and the bleak political reality on the domestic front. Cartoonist Eve Gilbert renders Camil’s story with empathy, nuance, and a dash of humor, her impressionistic imagery a perfect complement to his blunt words. As the American military continues to wage war throughout the globe, Camil’s anti-authoritarian attitude and fearless whistleblowing is as vital today as it was then.

Book Launch for Disasters in Paradise: Natural Hazards, Social Vulnerability, and Development Decisions
with Dr. Amanda Concha-Holmes, Dr. Anthony Oliver-Smith, Dr. Sarah Cervone, and Juan Concha-Holmes
Thursday, November 14

We are honored to host the book launch for Disasters in Paradise: Natural Hazards, Social Vulnerability, and Development Decisions (Lexington Books, 2019). The evening will include a presentation by the authors, a Q&A with the audience, and a reception.

Long considered ground zero for global climate change in the United States, Florida presents the perfect case study for disaster risk and prevention. Building on the idea that disasters are produced by historical and contemporary social processes as well as natural phenomena, Amanda D. Concha-Holmes and Anthony Oliver-Smith present a collection of ethnographic case studies that examine the social and environmental effects of Florida’s public and private sector development policies. Contributors to Disasters in Paradise explore how these practices have increased the vulnerability of Floridians to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, frosts, and forest fires.

The Letters of George Long Brown: A Yankee Merchant on Florida’s Antebellum Frontier
with Dr. James Denham and Dr. Keith Huneycutt
Saturday, November 16

In 1840, twenty-three-year-old George Long Brown migrated from New Hampshire to north Florida, a region just emerging from the devastating effects of the Second Seminole War. This volume presents over seventy of Brown’s previously unpublished letters to illuminate day-to-day life in pre–Civil War Florida.

Brown’s personal and business correspondence narrates his daily activities and his views on politics, labor practices, slavery, fundamentalist religion, and local gossip. Having founded a successful mercantile establishment in Newnansville (a former county seat of Alachua County), Brown traveled the region as far as Savannah and Charleston, purchasing goods from plantations and strengthening social and economic ties in two of the region’s most developed cities. In the decade leading up to the Civil War, Brown married into one of the largest slaveholding families in the area and became involved in the slave trade. He also bartered with locals and mingled with the judges, lawyers, and politicians of Alachua County. The Letters of George Long Brown provides an important eyewitness view of north Florida’s transformation from a subsistence and herding community to a market economy based on cotton, timber, and other crops, showing that these changes came about in part due to an increased reliance on slavery. Brown’s letters offer the first social and economic history of one of the most important yet little-known frontiers in the antebellum South.