Museum and Whitman House

Diorama of the port of Cedar Key

The museum features shell and artifact collections and intricate dioramas spanning from prehistoric times to the early 1900s. You can learn the story of Cedar Key and get to know who lived in the area. From the indigenous people who once lived off the land to the timber loggers who shipped cedar across the state, the museum is a window into Florida’s past and ways of life that have all but vanished.

view of the cedar key museum

Mid-Century Modern Architecture

Designed by Architect Charles Kuhn in 1961, the building is a good example of Mid-Century Modern architecture, plus a testament to the outstanding craftsmanship of the University of Florida exhibits team. The intricate dioramas were all made by hand, down to the smallest of details – like the pipe in the hand of a sailor and needles on the branch of a pine tree.

Diorama of men and canon in Civil War skirmish at Ceder Key

Diorama of Civil War skirmish at Station 4 in Cedar Key
Close-up of map of Florida with hand lettering

Map with hand-cut details and hand-lettering

The lettering in many of the displays was done well before today’s digital printing by a technique called “Leroy lettering.” The artist used a special device to keep the lettering straight and similar in size and shape. Be sure to look closely, because the museum itself truly is a piece of art.

 

Exhibit displaying a collection of mollusk shells

Of course, not to be missed is the extensive collections of St. Clair Whitman. A resident of Cedar Key, Mr. Whitman was known for his collections of seashells and native American artifacts – in fact, so famous, that he was once featured in National Geographic. After his passing, he donated his collections for use in a museum, now housed here at Cedar Key Museum State Park.

Front view of the historic St Clair Whitman house nestled under an oak tree

St. Clair Whitman's restored family home is also at the park. Walk through the house and see what life on Cedar Key looked like in the 1920s. Grab a rocking chair, feel the marsh breeze and be sure to linger at this special place.