Museums in Gainesville

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Thought it was opened just in 2012, the Harn Museum of Art's 26,000-square foot David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing has quite a bit of history on its hands. There are nearly 700 works on display, all chosen from the museum's collection of more than 2,000 pieces. Dating from the Neolithic period to today, the pieces hail from countries such as India, Persia, Vietnam, and Japan.

Asian art makes up a quarter of the Harn's more than 10,000 works, which, along with travelling exhibitions, fill 32,800 square feet of gallery space. You’ll walk past African wooden masks, metalwork, and ceramics, as well as almost 1,000 modern prints, drawings, and paintings—including canvases by Claude Monet.

Breaking the tradition of many art museums’ “Do not touch” signs, the Bishop Study Center has exhibit-related objects that can be gently touched, though you are not allowed to break apart any sculptures in search of hidden treasure maps. Beyond exhibits, the Harn hosts frequent events including lectures, film screenings, live performances, and interactive programs for students and families.

Sw 34th St & Hull Rd
Gainesville,
FL
US

Established: 1984
Staff Size: 11–25 people
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Works in the permanent collection
Recommended Age Group: All Ages

Q&A with Cindi Morrison, Director

What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Our permanent collection and temporary exhibits present a wide variety of types of art, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, decorative art, and antiquities. There is something for everyone.

What is the experience customers can expect, and how do you make it special?
Visitors can learn something about different cultures and different eras, from pre-Columbian artifacts to contemporary art. Our temporary exhibits change frequently and there is always something new to see.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We offer a scavenger hunt for children that encourages them to look more closely at the art and find the answers to the questions. After completing their scavenger hunt the children are rewarded with a prize to remember their visit to the Appleton.

4333 E Silver Springs Blvd
Ocala,
FL
US

A year before her death in 1959, Ninah Cummer—an art collector, garden enthusiast, and civic leader—donated her riverfront home and art collection to the community, imploring her fellow citizens to help support the foundation of an art museum. In less than 10 years, the board of trustees transformed the abode into the verdant Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, adding to Ninah's original gift of 60 pieces until the collection included nearly 1,000 works of art.

Today, the permanent collection holds pieces that span more than four millennia, from 2,100 B.C. to the 21st century. An ancient Egyptian stone tablet intrigues viewers with cryptic hieroglyphs and stylized portraits while, nearby, Peter Paul Rubens' The Lamentation of Christ epitomizes the colorful, sweepingly histrionic style of the Baroque painters. American treasures include Gilbert Stuart's iconic portrait of George Washington—one of over 100 he painted in an attempt to perfect the likeness of the first president and design a killer mask for the White House Halloween party.

After getting their fill of indoor beauty, guests can head to the open air and vibrant scenery of the museum's gardens. Begun more than a century ago, the gardens crisscross with winding paths that take guests under the canopies of majestic oaks and alongside the Italian garden's shimmering reflecting pools.

829 Riverside Ave
Jacksonville,
FL
US

Culled from samples found in her own backyard, Madge Wallace exhibited her first small naturalist collection in her New Riverside School classroom in 1910. Her museum relocated to a Victorian mansion in the decades to follow before settling on its current location on the south bank of the St. Johns River. Known as Museum of Science & History since 1988, the facility currently hosts changing and core exhibits that feature towering marine skeletons and interactive stations strewn through a mock digestive tract where visitors learn about bodily functions. At Currents of Time, history buffs can amass nuggets of local knowledge as they trace Jacksonville's history to more than 12,000 years ago. Elsewhere, The Bryan-Gooding Planetarium's 35,000-watt sound system enthralls guests at Cosmic Concert laser shows every Friday night, and monthly MOSH After Dark sessions educate adults with hands-on workshops and scientific lectures.

1025 Museum Cir
Jacksonville,
FL
US

Somehow, Hands on Children's Museum has managed to fit an entire town into its 8,500-square-foot space. Servers pour pretend milkshakes at a '50s-themed cafe, tellers work at the Kids Mini Bank, and all sorts of townsfolk stock up on the essentials at the Winn-Dixie Lil' Grocery. Here, working cash registers, conveyer belts, and miniature carts give kids the feeling that they're really shopping for their families. There's even a spaceship, just like in every small American town.

In total, 20 main exhibits let kids take on the roles of grownup workers or use costumes and puppets to enter a world of complete fantasy. Hands on Children's Museum also hosts special events, such as story time, face painting, and the opportunity to pet a live chicken.

8580 Beach Blvd.
Jacksonville,
FL
US

Formed as a volunteer-operated nonprofit in 1985, Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center amasses literature, documents, and artifacts to construct a narrative of maritime history within the city and Florida's First Coast. Exhibits showcase models of significant ships such as U.S. Navy destroyers, a German World War II era submarine, the M/V Comanche, and the first boat sailed by a salmon. The center also houses a diorama of the ocean liner RMS Titanic, a 15-foot model of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, and a smattering of interactive features nestled within the kids' play area. Along with membership meetings, the Heritage Center hosts quarterly programming and presentations on varied oceanic subjects, such as advice for courting sea nymphs, in an audiovisual room furnished with 75 cushioned seats, and has a gift shop that offers a vast selection of maritime-themed clothing and books.

2 Independent Dr
Jacksonville,
FL
US