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Local News

Renovated T. T. Wentworth Museum Reopens

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UWF Historic Trust
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The T. T. Wentworth Museum in downtown Pensacola will reopen on Tuesday after four months of renovations. The first floor of the Wentworth Museum features the same “City of Five Flags” theme but now focuses on everyday life in Pensacola throughout its history. Rob Overton is Chief Operating Officer of the UWF Historic Trust. He said the central gallery on the first floor has taken a welcome center approach.

“You can come in, if someone has a limited amount of time, ten, fifteen minutes, they could come in, go through this center gallery and get a good overview of the history of this area and what this community has to offer,” Overton said.

This exhibit contains displays about the region’s historic preservation and archeology, the Naval Aviation Museum and the history of Pensacola Beach.

“We’ve always been a waterfront community. That was the draw for the Spanish, that we were a natural deep water harbor, and it was a draw for the early Native Americans because it was a place to come and find food items and help to survive,” Overton said.

The renovation work was funded through a $500,000 BP Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotion grant. All the incandescent lighting on the first floor has been replaced by LED lights and more of the original tile that was laid down in 1907 has been exposed.

Mr. Wentworth’s personal curiosities, including a petrified cat, have been moved to the second floor. A new exhibit on the first floor now showcases Pensacola as a boom town. Overton says yellow pine timber had been a major export for the town and was used for ship masts.

“Ultimately what happened is they were cutting and not replanting, and hurricanes came and wiped out huge sections, tracts of timber and we began waning off of that until later years, once you get into the early 1900s up to about the 1950s, we were importing a lot of lumber from South America, mahogany being one. There were a number of sawmills here. They would bring in the lumber from South America and mill it here and were sending it all over the world,” Overton explained.

An old vault from the building’s time as city hall, previously used for storage, has been re-purposed as a display about Mr. Wentworth’s bicycle shop. The backdrop is an enlarged version of the only known photograph of the shop’s interior.

“We’ve got some bicycles from our collection we’re gonna put in, some other artifacts we’re gonna mount on the walls so you can step in and it’s like you’re stepping into Mr. Wentworth’s bicycle shop. And we tell the story of what he did as a young man,” said Overton.

A new exhibit on the second floor highlights Mardi Gras and the Fiesta of Five Flags. The second floor also continues to house the Civil War, Rox’s Camera Shop and Coca Cola memorabilia displays. Also new is a traveling exhibit on the history of alligators in Florida will be temporarily on display on the third floor.

The T. T. Wentworth Museum reopens to the public on Tuesday, November 26. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.