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.

Changing Exhibits

First African American Schoolhouse in LW"African American Voices of Lake Wales" by the Lake Wales History Museum

October 13, 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


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.

Website Bottom Tag