The Best Museums To Visit in Crestview, FL
Museums are far from the silent tombs full of dusty artifacts that you might imagine. So, if you haven’t been to one lately, you need to go. Florida has a rich and diverse history, and you need to take advantage of an exciting adventure. If you need some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. We put together this guide to the best museums in and near Crestview, Florida.
The Carver-Hill Museum chronicles the history of our local African American community by honoring the Carver-Hill School. The one-room building was erected in 1954 in a neighborhood park and taught students from kindergarten through high school. Mrs. Caroline Baker Allen founded the museum, and it’s the only one of its kind in the county.
Now enlarged and renovated, it serves as the home of the Carver-Hill Museum and is operated by the Carver-Hill Memorial and Historical Society, Inc. Its display features one of the largest collections of African American historical information, plus an extensive array of Carver-Hill School artifacts. Guests can browse photos, yearbooks, sports memorabilia, and historical documents that chronicle the story of prominent local families.
The Carver-Hill Museum also hosts many outstanding community events, such as the annual Carver-Hill May Day Festival and Museum Day. During this celebratory and reflective occasion, attendees can watch the parade, tour the museum, compete in sports competitions, and enjoy plenty of food and beverages.
- Location: 895 McClelland St., Crestview.
- Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Baker Block Museum
The town of Baker was established in 1907 along a well-used migration trail through Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Early settlers raised cattle and sheep, while others were involved in logging and the turpentine industry. As Baker grew, it boasted a bank, drug store, doctor’s office, post office, hotel, and the world’s largest blueberry farm — at the time.
There was also a popular general store situated on the grounds of a historical cattle pen. This mercantile is now the site of the Baker Block Museum. It’s the ideal place in Crestview to discover what life was like for our pioneer ancestors, and admission is always free. The North Okaloosa Historical Association restored the building in 1996. It houses various local artifacts, including Native American items and antique turpentine stills. Remember to check out Larry Demmers’ hand-painted mural on the side of the building depicting the area’s history.
- Location: 1307 Georgia Ave., Baker.
- Hours: Tuesday through Friday and every third Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Walton County Heritage Museum
If you’re a railroad history buff, visit the Walton County Heritage Museum. It sits in the former L&N railroad depot within the city’s Historic District. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and houses an interesting and eclectic collection of artifacts. You’ll find items from Allison’s Grocery that date back to the 1930s, an 1890s couch from the original Hotel DeFuniak, and books about Chautauqua and its history.
The Walton County Heritage Association operates the museum and constantly updates its displays. Its goal is to preserve and restore area buildings and other historical landmarks while maintaining a place for residents to learn from the area’s original inhabitants and their diverse histories. Admission is free.
- Location: 1140 Circle Drive, Defuniak Springs.
- Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Bagdad Village Museum
The Bagdad Village Museum is set in the restored 1880s Baptist church. The building was constructed during an essential era of independence for local African American communities. It also served as a school for African American children, and it’s believed to be the oldest African American church in Santa Rosa County.
The congregation replaced the church with a new building in 1987 and donated the original structure to the community. The building was moved to the corner of Bushnell and Church Street, where guests can find it today. Curators with the Bagdad Village Preservation Association filled its galleries with exhibits on local history, including a Civil War exhibit with period artifacts and photographs. You can also examine preserved documents from the Bagdad Lumber Mill, tools, and equipment used by generations of village workers.
- Location: 4512 Church St., Milton.
- Hours: Every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon and the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon.
Emerald Coast Science Center
Spending the day at the Emerald Coast Science Center is one of the best things to do near home, whether you’re a science geek or not. There’s something for everyone here, from exhibits to events and even animals on display. So, head outside and check out the dino dig pit or stay indoors and examine all sorts of interactive robotics.
Take a few minutes to say hello to the feathered and furry residents, like Cici, the blue and gold macaw, or Lawrence, the guinea pig. There’s even a rose hair tarantula named Alexander and Lucy, the red-tailed boa for creepy critter fans. Consider kicking off the New Year with a class like Maker Days. Look for multiple dates, including January 2, 2023, and get ready to explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
- Location: 31 Memorial Parkway SW, Fort Walton Beach.
- Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Heritage Park & Cultural Center
Fort Walton Beach is home to another historical treasure: the Heritage Park & Cultural Center. This site includes several museums, including the Indian Temple Mound, Garnier Post Office, Camp Walton Schoolhouse, and an exhibit building dedicated to the Civil War.
This museum traces the community’s history from 12,000 B.C. through the 1950s through exhibits, educational programs, and special events, like the annual garage sale fundraiser every February. Start your tour of the complex with the Indian Temple Mound Museum. It opened in 1962 and is Florida’s first municipally owned museum.
- Location: 139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach.
- Historic Building Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
There you go. Allen Turner Chevrolet put together this list of the best museums to visit in and near Crestview, Florida. Then, after you get your fill of local history, stop by and test drive a new car, truck, or SUV. We have the popular models you’re looking for and the quality service you want.