Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science

One of the most interesting museum complexes in Florida borders Lake Bradford in Tallahassee.

The Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science, formerly known as the Tallahassee Junior Museum, covers more than 50 acres and features a wide variety of exhibits including a fascinating collection of historic structures.

One of the most interesting is Belleview, the home of the Princess Murat. Few people today realize that Tallahassee was once the home of a famed French prince and princess. Prince Achille Murat was a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife, Catherine, was a great-grandniece of President George Washington. Although he died during the 1830s, she lived until 1867. The last 13 years of her life were spent at Belleview, a charming little plantation house that originally stood on Jackson Bluff Road in Leon County. During that time she visited the court of Emperor Napoleon III in France and received support from the French Empire.

The museum also features an array of other preserved structures, including a turpentine commissary, church, school and a complete Florida farm dating from the 19th century. Visitors can also explore nature trails and other exhibits and also see a large collection of native Florida animals including extremely rare Florida Panthers.

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