The award-winning Collier County Museum is a fun place to visit, whether you are a Naples, Florida visitor or have lived in Collier County all your life. The museum boasts a 10,000 square foot gallery of indoor exhibits and a 5-acre outdoor park containing everything from swamp buggies and Calusa Indian chickees to the restored Craighead Laboratory.
This family-friendly museum is a living exhibit tracing the development of Southwest Florida from the megalodons, through Spanish colonization and Seminole Wars to modern day events.
Indoor Attractions at the Collier County Museum
Most visitors start by entering the Welcome Area and picking up a Visitor Guide, map, and information about the exhibits – you’ll need them all in this expansive museum! Glass-fronted display cases and storyboards lay out the history of Collier County in chronological order. Meet the Megalodons, learn about Spanish silver reales, see ancient archaeological finds, and admire colorful exhibits about the Seminole and Creek Indians. You’ll also discover more about the Seminole Wars and how the Florida Homesteading Law in 1842 encouraged the inhabitation of Florida.
The Collier County Museum teaches through visual displays and recreated dioramas as visitors come face-to-face with cracker cowboys, railroad builders, rum runners, clam diggers, plume hunters, and movie stars such as Gary Cooper, who all contributed to making Southwest Florida the desirable place it is today.
Collier County Museum Outdoor Exhibits
Leave the air-conditioned coolness of the museum gallery and step out into the museum park. Paved paths connect a series of historic buildings and preserved exhibits such as the Baldwin “Deuce” Logging Locomotive and the original Kokomis Ferry that connected Keewaydin Island to Naples. Peek through the windows at the taxidermy collection of Dr. Earl L. Baum in his re-sited 1930s home and learn about Swamp Buggy racing in the 1920s.
One of the museum highlights is Naples Cottage, furnished as it would have been in 1926. You can walk through the rooms and appreciate that early settler life was not easy in the humid swamplands. Indian history exhibits include an authentic thatched chickee, a shell mound, and a wooden Trading Post, ending with a Palisade Fort. Children will love the freedom to roam around these exhibits and admire the M4 Sherman Tank and the sugar press. It brings Florida history vividly to life for visitors of all ages.
Visiting the Collier County Museum
This impressive modern museum has an excellent Exhibition Hall where lectures and events frequently take place. Check out the calendar and see what events might interest you on a return visit! The museum also has a well-stocked Gift Shop with a selection of local books. Although there is no café, the museum park has picnic tables so you can spend a full day at the museum if you wish.
Located on Tamiami Trail (US-41), southeast of downtown Naples, this excellent museum and park is part of the Collier County Government Complex. Open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., this free attraction is well worth dropping in and enjoying. You’re sure to learn plenty of things you didn’t know about the development of Naples and Collier County history.