Rare, Beautiful and Fascinating The Florida Museum of Natural History Celebrates 100 Years
by Peggy Macdonald
oug Jones, Florida Museum director, said the museum is actually more than 100 years old. “It began as part of the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City,” Jones said. “The oldest documentation of the museum we can ﬁnd is from 1891.” The museum moved to the newly established University of Florida campus in Gainesville in 1906. The museum’s collections were originally housed in Thomas Hall, a dormitory. The museum was later relocated to the basement of Science Hall, which is now Keene-Flint Hall, the current headquarters of the history department. In 1914, Thompson Van Hyning became the museum’s ﬁrst director. One of his early accomplishments was to get the museum declared the ofﬁcial state museum. The legislation was enacted in 1917. “So we’re actually celebrating 100 years as the state museum,” Jones explained.
For 100 years, the Florida State Museum — which changed its name to the Florida Museum of Natural History in 1988 — has been tasked with being a repository for all of the state’s collections. In addition, the museum is charged with creating exhibits and programs for the enlightenment of the citizenry. By 1939, the museum’s collections had outgrown Science Hall and were transferred to the basement and two ﬂoors of the
In 1914, Thompson Van Hyning became the museum’s ﬁrst director. One of his early accomplishments was to get the museum declared the ofﬁcial state museum. The legislation was enacted in 1917. seniortimesmagazine.com