Discover something new
with every visit to the museum.At the Collier County Museums' main facility in Naples, you'll discover mastodons, saber cats and other prehistoric animals, learn about Calusa and Seminole Indians, and meet the frontier families and trailblazers whose lives and dreams shaped the early history of Collier County. Located just minutes from downtown Naples, the museum features permanent and changing exhibit galleries, two historical homes, Seminole chickees, a recreated log fort, steam logging locomotive, swamp buggies, archaeology lab and much more, all nestled among five acres of shaded walkways and native Florida gardens.
Here's a quick look at what's waiting.
Naples Depot MuseumMay 1 - May 31
"Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky"
Enjoy the historic Naples pier, a memorable sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, local wildlife, and the simple pleasures of living in Naples through the lens of photographer Dennis Axer. His unique perspective brings our local wildlife and beautiful scenery to life. For more information, please call (239) 262-6525.
Marco Island Historical MuseumApril 3 - June 27
South Florida: A Villager’s View
The tiny island of Goodland, Florida, has been a special source of inspiration for award-winning oil-painter Tara O’Neill for many years. This exhibition relates her most intimate views, current and historic, of a working fishing village afloat with brilliant flora and a range of feathered-fauna; where old-growth trees dwarf candy-colored cottages, docks serve as driveways, and the backyard is the 10,000 islands. Join us for a free wine and cheese opening reception on April 4, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, please call (239) 642-1440.
Marco Island Historical MuseumJanuary 2 - July 26
New World: Lost World
Explore the Native American cultures that existed in Southwest Florida centuries before Columbus made his celebrated voyage to the North American Continent. Exhibits and artifacts examine everyday life in a typical Calusa village and trace the history of this powerful and complex Native American civilization from its hunter-gatherer origins to its eventual disappearance in the late 1700s.
Collier County MuseumJanuary 9 - June 28
Obscured by Time: The Magic of Florida
Artist Hermann Trappman offers a glimpse of early Florida, its unique geography, wildlife and native peoples, just prior to and after the first contact with European explorers in 1513. Trappman’s work explores the everyday life of Florida’s first inhabitants and is based on actual artifacts, fossil remains, and other archaeological evidence found in Florida. Exhibit on loan from the Neily Trappman Studio. For more information, please call (239) 252-8476.
Museum of the EvergladesApril 1 - June 1
Barron Collier’s Path Through the Everglades – The Tamiami Trail
Completed in 1928, the Tamiami Trail brought essential services and a new economic vitality to Florida’s last frontier. This exhibit will tell the tale of Barron G. Collier, a pioneering businessman whose vision and personal fortune were closely tied to much of Southwest Florida's early growth and development. For more information, please call (239) 695-0008.
Immokalee Pioneer MuseumJanuary 2 - July 26
Five Centuries of Tradition: Florida Cattle Ranching
Florida has the longest history of cattle ranching of any state in the nation. Learn how cattle first arrived in Florida with Spanish explorers and colonists in the 1500s and discover the cultural and economic importance of ranching to both the state, and those who raise cattle for a living. For more information, please call (239) 658-2466.
Other Collier County Museum Exhibits.
NAPLES COTTAGEVisit a hands-on home from the Roaring Twenties, when the year-round population of Naples totaled less than 300 people. Rescued from demolition and faithfully restored, this 1926 Naples home gives younger visitors a look at family life in early Collier County.
LOGGING LOCOMOTIVEBuilt by the Baldwin Locomotive Works around 1910, this weather-worn steam locomotive "Old Number 2" once carried lumberjacks deep into the County's ancient cypress forests.
GEORGE G. HUNTOON GALLERYThis restored 1940s-era Naples home was moved to the museum in 1993 and now displays the extensive South Florida marine and wildlife collection of Dr. Earl L. Baum, an Illinois physician who was lured to Naples in 1922 by an article in Field and Stream magazine. The gallery also serves as home to the museum's fishing and hunting display.
CRAIGHEAD LABORATORYDig up more facts on Florida's first people at one of the Craighead Lab's weekly archaeology sessions, hosted by the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Call the Lab at (239) 252-8517 for more information. To find more information about the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society, please visit www.fasweb.org/chapters/southwest.htm or:
Southwest Florida Archaeological Society
PO Box 9965
Naples, FL 34101
NATIVE FLORIDA GARDENGet back to Florida's roots in the Craighead Garden with over 150 varieties of native Florida trees, plants and flowers. This restful, living memorial is a tribute to plant scientist Dr. Frank Cooper Craighead, Sr., who was named "Scholar of the Everglades" by Florida Governor Reubin Askew in 1976.
SWAMP BUGGYUnique to Southwest Florida, this early example of a swamp buggy was built from spare parts during the 1920s to haul cypress fence posts out of Collier County's low-lying swamps and grasslands.
THE KOKOMISInspired by the shallow draft design of the famous glass bottom sightseeing boats used at Silver Springs, the KOKOMIS was launched in 1934 to ferry passengers and supplies across Gordon Pass to the Keewaydin Club on nearby Key Island. This sturdy old boat made the five-minute crossing until 1999.
ORCHID HOUSEBrush up on your bromeliads. The Carolyn J. Craighead Orchid House features a constantly changing collection of orchids and botanical specimens common to Southwest Florida's cypress hammocks and the Everglades.
SHERMAN TANKA 33-ton tribute to the honor, sacrifice and ingenuity of America's "greatest generation," Sherman tanks formed the armored backbone of U.S. and Allied armies during World War II. This M4A3E8 "Easy Eight" Sherman probably saw action in Europe in the late summer of 1944. And yes, it still runs just fine.
SEMINOLE VILLAGEAs Seminole Indians moved deeper into South Florida during the early 1800s, they adopted these open-sided, cypress pole huts or chickees to cope with the heat and humidity. Different styles were built for living, cooking and storage. These authentic palm-thatched chickees were a gift from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
SEMINOLE WAR FORTAlthough military action here during the Seminole Wars was relatively minor, at least five forts were built by the army in present-day Collier County. This log stockade would have served as a staging and supply area for patrols searching the Big Cypress Swamp for Seminole strongholds.
CALUSA CAMPOnce numbering as many as 10,000 people, the powerful Calusa Indians ruled the southern tip of Florida from coast to coast for centuries. Resourceful and practical, they built their villages on high ground, heaping up sand and shell to form enormous man-made mounds and ridges.
Visit Our Garden
Meet the natives at the Museum's Craighead Florida Garden.Established in 1990, the garden serves as a living memorial and tribute to pioneer environmentalist Dr. Frank Cooper Craighead, Sr., a leading authority on Florida's native plants and the state's official "Scholar of the Everglades."
Today this unique teaching garden contains a collection of more than 150 species of tree and plant communities native to Southwest Florida and attracts an ever-increasing number of birds and other wildlife, including the occasional fox, otter and even an alligator or two. Educational and school programs focus on the importance of protecting native plants in Florida's horticulture and explain how the indigenous peoples of Southwest Florida - and later explorers and settlers - made effective use of native plants in their daily lives.
Whatever the season, the Craighead Garden is a restful getaway where Florida's wealth of history and natural beauty greet you at every step.