Matheson History Museum
The Matheson History Museum showcases the history of Gainesville, Alachua County and surrounding environs. The museum complex includes the main exhibit gallery, Library & Archives, 1867 Matheson House, Tison Tool Barn, and Sweetwater Park.
The Matheson History Museum’s main exhibition gallery and Mary Ann Cofrin Exhibit Hall are housed in the former American Legion Hall, which was repurposed as a museum in 1994. All programs take place in the museum.
The Matheson Library & Archives are located across the street in the historic Gainesville Gospel Tabernacle building, which was built in 1933, it was renovated and restored by the museum in 2016. The Matheson History Museum library collection includes more than 20,000 historic Florida postcards, 1,500 stereograph cards, and myriad maps, photographs, documents, books and artifacts.
The Matheson House, one of the three oldest residences in Gainesville, was completed in 1867 by James Douglas Matheson, an emigrant from South Carolina and a prominent merchant. Gifted to the museum in 1993, the Tison Tool Barn houses the extensive historic tool collection of John Mason Tison, Jr. It displays historic tools from various industries ranging from lumber to electrical engineering. Please call the museum to schedule a tour.
Sweetwater Park is located directly behind the museum and maintained jointly by the Matheson History Museum and the City of Gainesville. The museum is in the process of installing a cell phone tour which will give visitors an overview of downtown Gainesville’s history. The park is free and open to the public.