Permanent Exhibits & Train Cars
The Lake Wales History Museum permanent historical exhibits are all self-guided, and display artifacts, images and documents about the the natural history of the Lake Wales Ridge beginning with Florida’s native people to the development of Lake Wales’ railroad, industry and residents of the 20th century. Three additional historic buildings are included on the property – a 1920 Historic Crystal Lodge, which was the original site of the Lake Wales Women’s Club, first library and later the chamber of commerce; the original 1916 Seaboard Air Line Freight Station; and, the 1920 Historic Stuart House, built by area pioneer E.C. Stuart. Guests may also visit the three original train cars including the 1926 Seaboard Air Line Railroad Caboose, 1886 Pullman-style Office Car, and the 1944 US Army Locomotive Engine.
"Creating Community Through Quilts & Art" by the Lake Wales History Museum
January 19 – May 15, 2021
The Lake Wales History Museum will display its permanent collection of historical and modern quilts and artwork. The act of making quilts, displaying them in the museum, and showcasing local places of Lake Wales in artwork was a traditional way the Lake Wales History Museum connected with the community. Quilting itself was created through quilting bees, or groups of women gathered to make a quilt. Works by local artists of historical places will be paired with the museum’s quilt collection. Equally important to Lake Wales’ sense of community are the paintings by artists that capture local places near and dear to our history.
"Beaches, Creatures & Cowboys: Florida Movie Posters” by the Museum of Florida History
May 25 – September 25, 2021
Movie producers have been making films in Florida almost since the dawn of the industry. For a short time in the early twentieth century, Florida even rivaled California as a place for movie making. This exhibit presents a selection of colorful, eye-catching posters that advertised films. The posters and lobby cards in this exhibit depict some of Florida's most famous films from the early 1920s to the present.
"African American Voices of Lake Wales" by the Lake Wales History Museum
October 5, 2021 – January 8, 2022
Experience the stories, lessons, and cultural history of Lake Wales’ African American community. Hear the retelling of personal accounts of living in a segregated community, explore the cultural experiences, and learn about the individuals who have made a difference and shaped the history of Lake Wales from the past 100 years.
“A Celebration of Souls: Day of the Dead in Southern Mexico” by the Field Museum
(Fiesta de Las Almas: El Dia de los Muertos el Sur de México)
January 18 – April 16, 2022
Encounter the colorful traditions of this luminous holiday with 26 stunning color photographs that capture Day of the Dead celebrations in and around Oaxaca, Mexico. Join villagers immersed in all aspects of the celebration—preparing centuries-old recipes for the departed, scattering trails of marigolds to guide the dead home, and offering chocolate and pan de muerto (bread of the dead) at community gatherings. Through gorgeous photographs and engaging panels in English and Spanish, A Celebration of Souls brings the vibrant Day of the Dead traditions to communities around the world.
“A History of Mardi Gras: Local Style” by the Lake Wales History Museum in collaboration with the Lake Wales Arts Council
February 1 – March 5, 2022
The Lake Wales Mardi Gras Festival was established in 1984 to celebrate the vibrant and rich music, dance, costume, and food traditions from around the world. Originally, a small band and a few dance ensembles, the Lake Wales Mardi Gras Festival is now a cultural feast for the eyes and ears, accompanied by educational activities, live entertainment, and Cajun food for families and adults. This exhibit will showcase the unique history of this Lake Wales’ community event through photographs, interpretive text and objects collected throughout the years.
“Summertime Citrus” by the Lake Wales History Museum and Museum of Florida History
April 26 – August 27, 2022
This exhibit will be a timeline of the important development of the citrus industry in Lake Wales, along with a citrus and crate label showcase. Memorabilia, industrial machines, professional items, and citrus labels from the Lake Wales History Museum, and collection of twenty-four citrus labels from the Museum of Florida History that represent the thousands used in Florida between the late 1800s and the 1960s will be on display.
“Alexander Hamilton” by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
TO BE CONFIRMED
August 30 – September 24, 2022
This exhibition examines Hamilton’s central role during the Revolutionary War and Founding period in creating the economic, constitutional, social, journalistic, political, and foreign policy templates for modern America. Using reproductions from the Gilder Lehrman Collection and the Library of the New-York Historical Society, and drawing on recent scholarship about Alexander Hamilton, this traveling exhibition helps visitors learn that Hamilton was a statesman and visionary whose life shaped the America we live in two hundred years after his death.