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  • Monday - Friday: 9:00 am-4:30 pm
  • Saturdays: 10:00 am-4:30 pm
  • Sundays and Holidays: Noon-4:30 pm

Irreplaceable Heritage celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and offers visitors a unique opportunity to examine the impact of the NHPA in Florida and explore the history of some of the state’s remarkable historic sites—places as diverse as a Civil War shipwreck in the St. John’s River to Miami Beach’s Art Deco District. The exhibit also highlights the grassroots efforts of thousands of Floridians who saved the Historic Capitol when it was threatened with destruction in the 1970s.

The NHPA was created as the result of a spirited national conversation about both our past and our future. Thousands of citizens from around the country felt compelled to save the places that were meaningful to them and helped to shape historic legislation that helped preserve our communities. The NHPA not only created the National Register of Historic Places, it established the State Historic Preservation Offices and Officers, and provided the framework to link federal, state, and local preservation efforts. Preserving buildings, landmarks, and other tangible pieces of history maintains the character of a community and fosters a sense of pride, keeping the places that convey our shared culture and heritage intact. Preservation also revitalizes neighborhoods, helps manage urban growth, and aids the economy by creating tourist destinations.

Stop by and check out the exhibit, and learn a bit about the many beautiful and beloved sites from around the state that have been preserved for future generations. Be sure to bring the little ones to enjoy our "Preservationist Office" full of crafts, puzzles, and other fun stuff.

Featured Items

  • Items from The Maple Leaf, a Civil War era shipwreck in the St. John’s River. It is one of six shipwrecks listed on the National Register.
  • Memorabilia from the campaign to save the “Bro Bowl,” a concrete bowl skateboard park built in Tampa in 1978. It was one of the last remaining skateparks from the era and was listed on the National Register in 2013.
  • A chronicle of the fight to save the Historic Capitol, which was slated for demolition in the late 1970s upon completion of the “New Capitol”
  • An interactive area for kids full of crafts, puzzles, and other fun activities
Letters, telegrams, and other correspondence from both sides of the “Save the Historic Capitol” debate.
A t-shirt and bumper sticker advocating to save the “Bro Bowl” as well as a piece of concrete from the historic skatepark.
Young visitors are invited to be a Preservationist at four stations representing the work of a historic preservationist: building, design, research, and restoration and rehabilitation.
A collection of items from The Maple Leaf including a frying pan, belt, ceramic pipe, and other everyday items used by sailors.
An area featuring tables and beanbag chairs where young visitors can read, do puzzles, and create crafts with a preservation theme.
A t-shirt advocating to save the Historic Capitol as a symbol of Florida heritage.

Exhibit Programs and Events


June 2, 2016
Irreplaceable Heritage: Florida the Preservation Act at 50 Exhibit Opening featuring Frank Vagnone
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Join us for the first look at our newest temporary exhibition on the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, its impact in Florida, and the grassroots efforts of thousands of Floridians who saved the Historic Capitol. Author Frank Vagnone will present on his groundbreaking book, the Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums. The Guide is a fresh look at the national discussion that questions the value of historic properties and what to do with “old” buildings. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m.; presentation to begin at 6:30 p.m. with book signing immediately to follow.

June 16, 2016
Wine & Cheese Curator’s Tour

5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

During this after-hours tour led by Museum staff guests will enjoy three different stations of wine and cheese while discovering interesting architectural elements that one may not find at first glance.  There will also be a special stop in our new temporary exhibit, Irreplaceable Heritage: Preservation at 50. Reservations are required and space is limited.  $20 for Members / $ 25 for non-Members.  Place your reservation by calling (850) 487-1902.

July 15, 2016
Lunch and Learn: Art Deco of the Palm Beaches

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Join us for a visual tour of the Art Deco style of architecture as author and artist Sharon Koskoff discusses her book, Art Deco of the Palm Beaches. Explore the dozens of architectural treasures that have been discovered and identified in Palm Beach County, including buildings such as the Dreyfoos School of Art, the Armory Art Center, the Lake Worth Playhouse, and many others that offer fine examples of this sleek, classic style.  Come learn how preservation, history, culture, and reflection on the past can help us move into the future.. Bring your own lunch or order your box lunch at 850-487-1902. Box lunches are $5 for Museum Members and $10 for non-Members.

July 21
Trivia Night at the Museum: All Ages Edition
6 – 8:30 p.m.     

Test your wits in a fun-filled trivia contest and scavenger hunt. Search the exhibits for clues, participate in fun games inside and outside the Museum, and explore the unique features of the restored 1902 Historic Capitol building in this family-friendly event. Seating is limited; registration required; fee includes pizza dinner and drinks. Members: $10/team, Non-Members $15/team

September 8
Grassroots Preservation Stories
5:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.     FREE PROGRAM

Can ordinary citizens and community members preserve the places that are important to them? Join us for a panel discussion featuring the efforts to save the “Bro Bowl” in Tampa, the Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Historic Preservation Office’s efforts to document Seminole tribal heritage, and the successful commemoration of Tallahassee’s Smokey Hollow community.

October 6    
Save the Historic Capitol Reflections

5:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.    FREE PROGRAM

Spend an evening with us reflecting on the passionate debate over the future of the Historic Capitol in the 1970s. Key participants from the campaigns will share stories about the ways they garnered support and swayed public opinion. Have you been impacted by the Historic Capitol? Record your memories in the “Reflections Studio.”

Event Sponsors

Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and program do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.