St. Clair Whitman and his collections were featured in National Geographic magazine in 1955.
St. Clair Whitman moved to Cedar Key as a boy in the late 1800s, and during his life he was involved with two of Cedar Key's major industries, the cedar pencil mill and the fiber factory. He was well-known for his extensive personal collections of seashells and Native American artifacts, which he displayed to the general public in the front room of his home.
When Whitman died in 1959, he donated his collections to the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History with the intention that they would be displayed in a museum in Cedar Key. The St. Clair Whitman Museum opened its doors in 1962, and a plaque commemorating the dedication can be viewed in the museum's entrance hall in between displays highlighting Whitman's life.
The museum's name was later changed to the Cedar Key Museum State Park, and Whitman's home, which was the first museum in Cedar Key, was donated by his family in 1991. The home, originally built in 1880, has been restored and is open to the public so that they may get a glimpse of what life was like in 1920s Cedar Key.
Aside from the historic Whitman home, the main museum building also offers guests a chance to go back in time. The exhibits were designed by a team from the University of Florida, which at the time was designing all of the state park system's museums. This offers guests a unique opportunity to not only learn about the history of the town of Cedar Key, but to also appreciate the incredible craftsmanship that went into museum displays in the 1960s.
Cedar Key Museum State Park encompasses 18 acres and offers guests an opportunity to imagine themselves as John Muir, taking a quiet walk past large pines and oaks down to view Cedar Key's salt marshes. Noted naturalist John Muir did in fact spend a few months in Cedar Key in 1867, and his time spent in the little town is commemorated with a state historic marker located on the museum grounds.
Our nature trail offers wonderful birding opportunities, particularly in the Fall and Winter when the migratory birds arrive. The trail leads down to a salt marsh where wading birds like Roseate Spoonbills, American Avocets, and White Ibis can be viewed during the low tide.
The tidal marshes and creeks at Cedar Key Museum provide outstanding paddling opportunities.
Explore the park in a new and challenging way. Experienced Geocachers have requested permission to hide caches containing trinkets, treasures, or information in various places around the park. Please check the Geocaching website for the most current and up-to-date information and clues to locate these caches.
Operation Recreation GeoTour
A short nature trail gives visitors the opportunity to see wildlife and birds, as well as native vegetation. Gray squirrels, doves, mockingbirds, blue jays, woodpeckers and green tree frogs can be seen on the museum grounds and along the walking trail.
A short nature trail gives visitors the opportunity to see wildlife and birds, as well as native vegetation. Small gray squirrels, gopher tortoises, mockingbirds, blue jays, woodpeckers, and green tree frogs can be seen on the museum grounds and along the walking trail.
Interpretive exhibits within the museum and the historic Whitman home, and wayside exhibits on the museum grounds, share information about Cedar Key's natural and cultural resources.
The Cedar Key Museum contains exhibits depicting the towns' colorful history. Part of the collection has seashells and Indian artifacts collected by Saint Clair Whitman, the founder of the first museum in Cedar Key. Whitman’s house is located at the park and has been restored to reflect life in the 1920s. The museum grounds are landscaped with native Florida vegetation, including sand pine, slash pine, southern red cedar, live oak, sabal palm, wax myrtle, saw palmetto, coontie and yaupon holly.
Parking for the museum is located off SW 166th Court.
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Cedar Key Museum State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and cannot be left unattended for more than a half-hour. Dogs are not permitted in the museum or St. Clair Whitman house.
A men's and a women's restroom are conveniently located near the front of the museum. Both restrooms are wheelchair accessible.
The museum, restroom facilities, and the historic Whitman home are all wheelchair accessible. The park also has a wheelchair available.
Canoe Kayak Launch
An unimproved canoe/kayak launch is available along the nature trail. Portage is required.
Monday, Sep 21, 2020 at 9:00am Eastern Time
Monday, Sep 21, 2020 at 1:00pm Eastern Time
Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020 at 7:00pm Eastern Time
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