UWF's archaeological excavations have exposed the public to the importance of archaeology in northwest Florida. The resulting interest in all things archaeological has spurred the creation of museum exhibits, outdoor exhibits and displays and archaeological trails and parks, many of them sponsored by or affiliated with UWF. These exhibits, museums and parks educate the community about the area's history and attract tourists traveling through the region.
There are several places to see the artifacts that UWF archaeologists have unearthed. Many of the most spectacular artifacts from all time periods - Prehistoric Native American, Colonial, Early American, and Victorian - are on display in the exhibit area of the Archaeology Institute located right at the entrance to campus. Artifacts, such as a 300-year old cannon from Santa Maria de Galve, are on display here. In addition, exhibits present information on site excavation, archaeology's tools and conservation of artifacts from maritime excavations. The exhibits are free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Special tours by UWF archeologists can be arranged by calling (850) 474-3015.
In downtown Pensacola, the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum has interesting displays of archaeological artifacts from all periods of Pensacola's history, including an impressive exhibit on the 1559 Spanish Tristan de Luna shipwreck, excavated by UWF and Florida BAR archaeologists in the 1990s. The museum is free and open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call the museum at (850) 595-5990 with any questions.
Numerous open-air historical and archaeological sites exist in the Pensacola region. Get out into the Florida sunshine and visit one or more of the following:
Presidio Santa Maria de Galve
Located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station on a bluff overlooking Pensacola Pass, the first permanent settlement in Pensacola was found, investigated and developed into an open-air exhibit by UWF between 1995 and 1998. The site, located on the Naval Air Station, is an easy drive from downtown Pensacola. Visitors can stroll through the area once occupied by Spanish colonists and see the reconstructed northwest bastion of the wooden Fort San Carlos de Austria with two of the original cannons mounted on the walls above the fighting deck. A series of interesting historical markers offer a self-guided tour through the fort, village and cemeteries. Many of the artifacts from the Presidio are on exhibit at the Archaeology Institute. More can be viewed at the second Pensacola Lighthouse Museum.
Colonial Archaeological Trail
Located in Historic Pensacola Village in downtown Pensacola, the Colonial Archaeological Trail consists of a series of outdoor exhibits that feature Pensacola's colonial past. A brochure for the trail can be obtained at the Tivoli House in the village. The open-air archaeology exhibits each has an explanatory metal marker and location map. They are handicap accessible and include the ruins of the colonial commanding officer's house and associated refuse pits, the foundations of the officer of the day's building just inside the western gate of the British fort, and the foundations of the British colonial administration building.
The remains of British Fort George near downtown Pensacola, excavated in 1974 and 1975, have also been partially reconstructed and are part of the Trail. Fort George was the site of the famous battle in 1781 where Bernardo de Galvez, Governor General of Spanish Louisiana took Florida from the British. After Pensacola reverted to the Spanish, Fort George was renamed Fuerte San Miguel. The remains of the Fort, located between Jackson and La Rua on the western side of Palafox St. (next to the Knights of Columbus Hall, across from First Baptist Church), are free and open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fort George's breezy, cool location on a hill overlooking downtown Pensacola make the site an excellent place to enjoy the history of the city even on the hottest summer days.
Historic Pensacola Village also has many renovated historic buildings and living history exhibits. Docents in period clothing guide visitors through the various homes in the village several times each day. For more information visit the website at http://www.historicpensacola.org/.
Nestled in the woods on Pond Creek just outside Pensacola is one of the oldest industrial sites in the Southeast: Arcadia. Built in the late Spanish colonial period (1817) and burned in 1855, this water-powered industrial complex had a sawmill, grist mill and slave-labor textile factory before the Civil War. For more information about Arcadia and UWF's excavations at the site, visit the Arcadia Mill research page. Arcadia has been developed for the public, is handicapped-accessible and hosts thousands of visitors each year. Arcadia House has a wide variety of artifacts on display associated with saw milling and cotton cloth production. The site is deeply wooded with trails which include a swinging bridge over Pond Creek and a long, beautiful boardwalk over the levees which leads visitors to the unique sandstone masonry foundations and old textile plant floors. Arcadia is a wonderful place to enjoy West Florida's "pioneer" history.
Arcadia Mill is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule a group tour, contact Roy Oberto at (850) 626-3084 or email him. Additional information can be found on the Historic Pensacola Village website.