Explore Florida's Past with the Brevard Museum's Exhibits

The Brevard Museum features two wings of exhibits representing Brevard County’s rich and diverse history. Click on the links below for a “sneak-peak” at some of them. We hope these images will whet your appetite and you’ll stop in to learn the rest of the story!

Lesson plans are under development for many of the museum’s exhibits. Contact us for more information.

The Ice Age

During Florida’s Pleistocene Ice Age, megafauna (large mammals) dominated what was then a savannah-like landscape. Learn about giant ground sloths, mastodons, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, the American lion, glyptodonts, giant beavers, bison, tapiers, giant tortoises, dire wolves, and more. 

Inside the exhibit:

  • See enormous creatures that once roamed the state.
  • Touch real fossils.
  • Take your photograph from inside the jaws of the megalodon.
  • Step into the South Indian Field Archaeological dig site.

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Mastodons

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Bones the Mastodon

The American Mastodon (Mammut americanum), lived during the Pleistocene between 10 and 12 thousand years ago. This 11 foot cast, was created by Dr. Cliff Jeremiah. The mastodon was found in the Aucilla River near Tallahassee. He was discovered on a dive in 1968, and the underwater excavation took three years. Mastodons were smaller than wooly mammoths and their appearance was closer to that of modern elephants, their distant relatives.

 

Dire Wolves

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The Dire Wolf

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Horses of the Ice Age

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"Primitive Horses"

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Windover Archaeological Site

The Windover Archaeological Site, the most significant burial complex in North America, is a charnel pond used by early hunter-gatherers more than 7,000 years BP.

In 1982, a backhoe driver named Steve Vangerjagt discovered one of the most important archaeological burial sites in North America. Vanderjagt was working at a site at the shallow pond near Titusville for Jim Swann's development compnay. As the backhoe raised a bucket full of dirt from the murky swamp-like environment, a new chapter in Florida's pre-history was written.

Inside the exhibit:

  • Walk through a reconstruction of the burial dig site. 
  • Gaze into the eyes of 'Windover Woman'.
  • See original grave goods from Florida's Archaic Period.
  • Try your hand at bioarchaeology at our interactive lab station.

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Windover Artifacts

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Incised Bird Bone

This incised bird bone tube from the Windover Archaeological Site is now on display, Only five bone tubes were recovered and most were associated with female burials. Although, one was associated with a juvenile (sex indeterminate burial) Manufactured from cut sections of the upper arm bone of a large bird (possibly a pelican), three were decorated with incised patterns like the one seen here. This decoration could have been achieved using a shark tooth or chert engraving tool. 

Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and special 150th anniversary exhibit

Before the Space Coast, there was the treacherous Cape Coast. The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, first constructed in 1848 and rebuilt in 1868, helped guide ships away from the reef and played an interesting role during the American Civil War.  

May 11th - December 29th, enjoy a special 150th anniversary exhibit from the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation.

Cape Canaveral Lighouse Model

Pioneer Homestead

Early settlers to Brevard County, like Selina Mole Roberts and her husband Henry Roberts, lived in simple thatch-roof huts in the unbridled Florida wilderness.

Pioneer Homestead of Selina Mole Roberts modeled after her first home in Florida.

Citrus Industry

Citrus and Oranges originated in Asia but have a rich history in Florida. Juan Ponce de Leon planted the first trees in St. Augustine between 1513 and 1565. In Brevard County,  Douglas Dummit established the Indian River Citrus industry on Merritt Island in the 1830s.

Inside the exhibit:

  • Answer citrus trivia questions and sort oranges.
  • Read a letter from the infamous 'freeze'
  • See equipment used by citrus growers.

 

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Inside the Florida Citrus Industry

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The Origin of Oranges

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Florida Cracker Culture

Florida Crackers are cattle ranchers with techniques specific to the Florida pine and scrub lands. By cracking a whip they herd cattle while seated on "Cracker horses," sturdy equines bread for cattle work. Learn more about a unique lifeway that has endured from early Spanish settlers to the present day. It's all here at the museum!

Cracker Cow Hunt, 1993
Casper McCloud

Florida East Cost Railway

Henry Flagler established the Florida East Coast Railway in the 1880s connecting tourists and transporting citrus from Jacksonville to Miami, all in under 24 hours. For years, Rockledge was the southern-most terminal bringing northerners down to enjoy Florida’s warm weather.  The railroad service offered a more direct, reliable route than the meandering steamship transportation of earlier days.

Inside the exhibit:

  • Peak into the railroad master's office.
  • Examine the tools used to build railroads.
  • Step up as conductor of our own model FEC train!

Grace & Albert Taylor

Grace Taylor's Drawing Room

Grace and Albert Taylor were one of Cocoa Village’s first families in 1880s. It is through the Taylor Trust and their donations that the Brevard Museum was established to preserve the legacy of Brevard County History for future generations.

Albert Armer Taylor was born in Lysander, NY in 1864. His family settled in Cocoa in 1886. In 1889, Albert Taylor established the second bank in the county, The Brevard County State Bank. At the time of its opening, there were no other banks on the Florida East Coast between Cocoa and Key West. When the Florida East Coast Railway was extended to Cocoa in 1893, Albert bought the first ticket. In 1898, he was elected the 2nd Mayor of Cocoa.

Grace Webster Crockett Taylor was born in Maine in 1871. She met Albert while visiting Cocoa in the winter of 1894, and the two married in 1895. Grace was a seamstress, she played piano, sketched, and wrote poetry and prose. She taught herself Braille so that she could transcribe books and magazines. The Red Cross adopted her work for its programs for the blind and she was the first Braille transcriber in Brevard County.

Inside the exhibit:

  • Learn to read with your fingers with Braille alphabet flashcards.
  • See household items owned by Grace and Albert Taylor.

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Here Are My Pet Cats by Grace Taylor

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Here Are My Pet Cats by Grace Taylor

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Hubble Space Telescope: Eye on the Universe

On loan for two years from Delaware North and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, is a model of the Hubble Space Telescope. The awe-inspiring back-lit canvases of nebulae now on display were taken by the Hubble telescope.

The Space Shuttle Discovery Docks for a service mission at the Hubble Space Telescope.

Butterfly Garden

Enjoy the outdoors in our open-air butterfly garden and check the large red flowered fire bush for Zebra Butterflies! You may even spot a Monarch!

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Florida Butterflies

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The Zebra Longwing Butterfly

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The Zebra Longwing Butterfly

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Imagination Station

At the Museum's Imagination Station, children of all ages enjoy blasting off into outer space from our NASA console. When they're ready to come back down they can scale the tree house and explore its hidden wonders. 

Past Exhibit: Paintings of Nostalgic Florida: The Original Highwaymen Artists April 7, 2018 - April 28, 2018

Through Paintings of Nostalgic Florida: The Original Highwaymen Artists, we explore the unique history of the 25 men and one woman who came to be known as the Florida Highwaymen.

From the late 1950’s to the early 1980’s, a group of largely self-taught African American artists from Fort Pierce created tranquil scenes of   undeveloped Florida. They painted in backyards and garages, often on   inexpensive upson board, and sold their pieces all across Florida while traveling down I-95 and Highway A1A. At the time, paintings cost Floridians and tourists $10 to $35 dollars. Today, those same pieces may be valued anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.

In the past few decades, there has been a renewed interest in Highwaymen art. The vivid sunsets, windswept palm trees, sandy beaches, tranquil marshes, and scarlet Poinciana trees are now widely sought after as both art and as pieces of Florida history. A small number of the Highwaymen artists continue to paint today, including those contributing to the Brevard Museum’s exhibition.

 Paintings of Nostalgic Florida: The Original Highwaymen Artists will feature works by Issac Knight, Robert L. Lewis, Willie Reagan, James Gibson, Harold Newton, and Johnnie Daniels. 

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Past Exhibit: Time to Shine: Mismatched Items from our Collection Feb 23 - March 31

Some of our collections items are anxious for their time to shine. See our favorite random assortment of historical objects, artifacts, and specimens.

 

In this exhibit you can:

Play a round of 'I Spy'.

The Apollo Journey: Birth of the Space Coast

The Apollo Journey: Birth of the Space Coast

An exhibit to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing

Opening July 20, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Featuring a presentation by Dr. Amy Foster, Space Historian, University of Central Florida

Space-themed refreshments and music

This event is included with museum admission

The Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science

2201 Michigan Avenue

Cocoa, FL  32926

321-632-1830