Welcome to the Brevard Museum

Temporary Exhibits

All temporary exhibits are included with general museum admission.  

 

The Apollo Journey

The Apollo Journey: Birth of the Space Coast

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

Opened July 20, 2019 

 

 

 

Borders and Boundaries: Mapping Florida History

An exhibit that features maps from the Florida Historical Society archive and the Brevard Museum collection

Opened October 12, 2019

 

 

 

 

2 o'clock Tours

Life's better with a tour guide by your side! Let one of our trained and talented museum docents lead you through Florida's history from the Ice Age to the Space Age. Hop on one of our 2 pm museum tours held on Fridays and Saturdays. Museum tours are included with general admission. RSVP's are not required but are always appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brevard Museum Location



Visit Us:  
2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa, Florida 32926


Call Us:
(321) 632-1830

Geo URL: geo:28.3869648,-80.7635303

Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Brevard+Museum

 

 

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Commemorate 50th Anniversary

Help us commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Brevard Museum of History & Natural Science with a donation.

$500 Museum Benefactor  -   $150 Museum Supporter  -   $50 Museum Friend

 In July 1969, a group met at the Merritt Island Public Library to discuss the possibility of establishing a museum in Brevard County. They incorporated as “Friends of the Brevard County Museum, Inc.”
 In 1973, the Brevard County School Board provided for museum use a one room portable school building.
 In 1975, funding from the estate of Grace and Albert Taylor made construction of the Taylor Building possible. Many groups have contributed both funding and services to make further construction possible, including the Junior Service League of Cocoa-Titusville, Community Women’s Club of Cocoa, and the Merritt Island Women’s Club.
 In September, 2014, ownership of the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science was transferred to the Florida Historical Society. Under FHS leadership, the museum exhibits have been refreshed and expanded, and two rotating exhibit spaces established. The museum is home to the Florida Historical Society Archaeological Institute (FHSAI).

For more information or to make a donation, please call Dorothy Dickey at 321-690-1971 x217.
Checks made out to the “Brevard Museum” can be mailed to 2201 Michigan Ave., Cocoa, FL 32926

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Contact Us

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Museum Contacts

 

Holly Baker, Museum Manager 

holly.baker@myfloridahistory.org

 

Museum Phone:

(321) 632-1830

Mailing Address:  
2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa, Florida 32926


 

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One Room Schoolhouse

Mrs. Goode's Class: What were one-room schoolhouses like? Students in grades 1-8 all learned together. The oldest sat in the back, and the youngest in the front. They learned history, reading, writing, geography, and arithmetic. The room was heated by a wood burning stove. 

Exhibit Section: 

Inside the Exhibit

Exhibit Item: 

Brevard Schools

Exhibit Segment: 

Cocoa High School 1926

Cocoa High School was the first Cocoa school built for higher grades. It was later converted into an elementary school.

Cocoa School Bus

This Cocoa school bus was owned and driven by Roy Packard.

Little Red Schoolhouse

The Little Red Schoolhouse in Melbourne was built and painted by John Goode in 1883. The first teachers were Maude Goode and Mary Valentine. Students sat on benches, and there was a hand-operated pump outside. White students were taught in the morning and black students were taught in the afternoon. The school term only lasted 5-6 months during the summertime. 

Thatched one-room schoolhouse

A thatched one-room schoolhouse of unknown location.

Merritt Island School Boat

This school boat was used by students living along the tributaries of the Indian River.

Titusville High School

Opening Day of Titusville High School.

Early Cocoa High School 1890

An early Cocoa high school located on Willard Street. 1890.

Costumed Students

Costumed students at Miss. Elvira Watkins Hillside School.

Mims School 1924

Students, teachers, and principal stand on the steps of a school in Mims in 1924.

About Us

The Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science is located in Cocoa, Florida. Tucked away in a quite residential neighborhood the museum boasts two wings of indoor exhibits and a 22-acre nature preserve backing up to the Eastern Florida State College Planetarium. Through curation and display we invite visitors to explore the unique history of Brevard County. From Ice Age fossils to the Space Age Hubble telescope, we have something for everyone!

The Brevard Museum is also home to the Florida Historical Society Archaeological Institute whose mission, in hand with the museum, is to educate the public about Florida archaeology through research, publication and outreach.

History

A Brief History of Brevard Museum

In the late 1960s a group of local citizens saw the need to preserve the unique history and pre-history of Brevard County located on Florida's east coast. Forming a Friends of the Brevard Museum organization their efforts and dedication let to the establishment of our Museum, which opened to the public in 1973 in a portable classroom donated by the Brevard County School Board. A permanent facility was dedicated in 1978 with funding provided by the Grace and Albert Taylor trust.

Settling in our area in 1895, Grace and Albert contributed greatly to the development of Brevard County. Grace in particular was interested in preserving the history and natural beauty of the area. When she passed away in 1945 she left a bequest specifically for the development of a museum to to preserve these early lifeways. Today, in addition to many milestones and moments in Brevard County history, the Museum is home to an extensive collection of her antiques and historic artifacts.

Interest in the Museum continued to grow and funds for further construction were secured through a partnership between the state and local community, allowing a second wing with a connecting lobby to be built in 1992. The original Taylor Wing is now home to our Ice Age exhibit featuring fully articulated skeletons of a mastodon, giant ground sloth and saber tooth cat. This wing also has a hands-on “Imagination Station” for the young and young at heart, with a simulated rocket capsule, tree house and cave.

The entire Museum complex consists of a 14,750 square foot facility with parking for 75 cars, a pavilion with four picnic tables, and a beautifule 22-acre nature preserve.

The newest chapter in the museum’s history began in September of 2014 when the Florida Historical Society became the museum’s parent organization. Many changes have occurred, and will continue to occur, under this new umbrella. If you haven’t seen the Brevard Museum in the past year, you haven’t seen the Brevard Museum. Come on out and see what’s new in Your community museum!

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.

Exhibit Section: 

Explore More!

Exhibit Item: 

Mastodons

Exhibit Segment: 

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

Exhibit Segment: 

The Dire Wolf

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Horses of the Ice Age

Exhibit Segment: 

"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.

Related Videos: 

Exhibit Section: 

Explore More!

Exhibit Item: 

Windover Artifacts

Exhibit Segment: 

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.

 

Exhibit Section: 

Explore More

Exhibit Item: 

Inside the Florida Citrus Industry

Exhibit Segment: 

The Origin of Oranges

PDFfile: 

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.

Exhibit Section: 

Explore More About the Taylors

Exhibit Item: 

Here Are My Pet Cats by Grace Taylor

Exhibit Segment: 

Here Are My Pet Cats by Grace Taylor

---------- click on image to zoom in -----------------

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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!

Exhibit Section: 

Florida Butterflies

Exhibit Item: 

The Zebra Longwing Butterfly

Exhibit Segment: 

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. 

PDFfile: 

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

Education

Eyes Open, Hands On!

Enjoy colorful exhibits that lead you through time from the days of woolly mammoths and saber tooth cats, to the modern era of rockets and space shuttles. Handle fossils and artifacts from animals and cultures that lived here thousands of year ago.

Permanent Exhibits:

  • Ice Age Animals– Including a mastodon, giant ground sloth and sabre tooth cat
  • The Windover archaeological site (the most significant burial complex in North America)
  • Florida History – Homesteading, Cracker culture, transportation and more

For Kids Only

Imagination Station:  A hands on activity zone where children can act out a piece of history or indulge in a flight of imagination with a mock space capsule, treehouse and black light cave

Nature Preserve and Trails

Twenty-two acres of preserved nature trails and a beautiful butterfly garden sponsored by our local Florida Master Gardner’s organization

Lesson Plans

Scavenger Hunt Bingo!

Ideal for families, homeschool groups, and adventurous museum-goers. Identify the items shown up-close on your bingo card to win a prize. You can check them off as you find them, or write down what the item is for added learning. And, for an additional challenge, go beyond just BINGO and try to fill out the whole card! Choose a Level 2 card for more close-up, challenging images.

Teacher's Guide

This multiple choice teacher's guide serves as a quick-and-easy post-tour review.

 

Word Search

This classic word search incorporates museum-themed words

Word Search    Answers

 

Public Files: 

Nature Trail Info & Map

Twenty two acres of the Museum’s land is set aside as a nature preserve with several trails that are wheelchair accessible. Put on your walking shoes to explore scrub, hammock and wetland habitats. Watch and listen for the animals scurrying through the undergrowth. As you stroll through the tranquil habitat, you can imagine what Florida looked like before roads and towns were cut into the natural vegetation. The Nature Trails are open to the public free of charge during museum operating hours. 

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Tour & Field Trip Info

The Brevard Museum is the premiere destination for students of all ages to explore our diverse local history.

Brevard County's rich pre-history comes to life, beginning with Ice Age megafauna including a fully articulated mastodon, giant ground sloth and saber tooth cat and moves forward in time to the Windover archaeological site, the most significant burial complex in North America. Two wings of exhibits share the exciting stories that built our county, from early pioneer settlers to pioneers of space exploration. The Hubble Space Telescope exhibit is particularly compelling, filled with light, sound and imagery that sends the imagination soaring.

We also have 22 acres of nature trails to explore with three different ecological zones. While enjoying our nature trails you may even catch a glimpse of our endangered gopher tortoises or a mated pair of sandhill cranes.

Although the museum covers local history from the Ice Age to the Space Age, tours can be customized to focus on specific subject areas if desired. Call us today and book your visit to travel through time at the Brevard Museum!

Scheduled Group Tours

Tour Rates are $7.00 per person (student or chaperone) and $4.00 for students ages 4 -12

Tour Hours:
Thursday-Saturday 10:30 am - 3:30 pm 

General Operating Hours:
Thursday-Saturday 10:00am - 5:00pm
*Last admission of the day is 4:00pm* (to allow time to fully enjoy your experience)

Tours must be scheduled a minimum of  2 weeks in advance. A covered picnic area is available for use at no charge.

Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance by phone or email. If 48 hours cancellation is not given, you will be invoiced for a $25 set up fee.

For more information, or to schedule a visit, please call us at 321.632.1830 or email holly.baker @ myfloridahistory.org.  Thank you!

2 O'Clock Tours

Life's better with a tour guide by your side! Let one of our trained and talented museum docents lead you through Florida's history from the Ice Age to the Space Age. Hop on one of our 2 pm museum tours on Fridays or Saturdays. Museum tours are included with general admission. RSVP's are not required but are always appreciated.

Become a Volunteer

Upcoming Docent Training Sessions!

At the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, it is our goal to educate and excite our visitors about the history of Brevard County. Volunteers like you make this possible by playing an integral role in the preservation and presentation of our shared history!

 We want our visitors to leave the museum confident that they have learned something new from us about Brevard County’s Pleistocene Megafauna, Archaic Native Americans, diverse sea life, and, of course, the settlers who built up our towns through the industries of railroads, banks, turpentine, and orange groves. 

 

The Brevard Museum has a number of engaging opportunities for you to chose to work based on your own interests and the skills you would like to use or develop. If you’ve got a talent we’d like to know!

 

You can strengthen your public speaking skills by leading group tours, and by learning to operate a cash register while greeting and admitting guests

Other opportunities include:
answering and directing phone calls, researching artifacts and exhibits, performing data entry, sorting and filing documents, cataloguing collections, and more.

 

Shifts are a flexible 3.5 hours Thursday through Saturday from 10 am - 1:30 pm and 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

 

Current Volunteer Positions

1.      Brevard Museum Front Desk Volunteer

2.      Brevard Museum Docent

Please email your cover letter and application to museum director at holly.baker @ myfloridahistory.org
 

Public Files: 

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PDF icon volunteer_application_form.pdf496.53 KB