Floral City Heritage Museum: A Dream Realized

'Follow That Dream', the movie, may have been a fantasy that was filmed in Citrus County 50 years ago, but Floral City has harbored its own dream for the past 10 years.

The old Fire Station building in downtown Floral City was vacated in January 2000 and on December 4, 2009 the new Heritage Museum & Country Store opened its doors for Floral City Heritage Days.

The result: A Dream Come True! The refurbished interior now houses two spacious history museum exhibition galleries, a library, a media area and the 'Country Store'. Work on the office, storage, kitchen and restroom areas is in progress.

Volunteers staff 'The Floral City Heritage Hall Museum and Country Store' every Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The facilities will also be open for special events throughout the year. Individual requests to open the museum during out of hours are welcomed, please call Frank Peters on (352) 697-2999, he will be happy to help.

Heritage Museum and Country Store is located in downtown Floral City next to the Community Building and Library on Orange Avenue, one block east of U.S. Hwy. 41.

On entering the elegant French doors a new look will greet the visitor's eye. All the hardware and tracks for the large bay doors in the old Fire Station have been removed and a new paneled wall covers the existing bay doors.

Fresh paint brightens the walls and floor where the eye is immediately drawn to a rock-lined faux-painted path that leads past the Museum 'Country' Store, through the first exhibition gallery and into the second, larger exhibition gallery.

A new, inviting Library/Media Area has been added to the side of the second gallery. This is equipped with comfortable furnishings, including a television for viewing VHS tapes and DVDs along with a bookcase containing books and papers available for historical research. In both galleries, the exhibits will change throughout the year so that there will always be something new and different to see.

At present, the first gallery is devoted primarily to old, historic photographs taken in the Floral City area. Included are eleven mid-1880s stereo views of Floral City, which are perhaps some of the oldest ever photographs of Citrus County.

Other photos of the downtown area that date from the turn of the 20th century are displayed with photos of the same area as it appears today.

A small exhibit on the history of the Avenue of Oaks, the main street of Floral City and one of the most photographed roads in the state, includes a five-foot-wide cross section of one of the historic 125-year-old trees that was sadly lost in 2008.

The second gallery is devoted to rotating exhibits that will change thoughout the year. Please consult the "Upcoming Events" box on the home page for the current exhibit.

Also on permanent exhibit in this gallery is a diorama of Floral City as it looked 100 years ago, in the height of the phosphate boom. A numbered key to the buildings, each shown with a brief description of its history, hangs over the model and historic photos are displayed nearby.

After spending time in the museum galleries a visit to the Country Store will provide an opportunity to purchase unique items that reflect the diverse history of our area.

This includes reproductions of old postcard views and photos, historic Florida maps, olden day children's toys and other items too numerous to mention.

Please come by and see the results of a long-held dream that has been realized through the hard work, sacrifice and dedication of many people who have devoted their time, energy and talents to the preservation of our historic Floral City community.