The legacy of old Florida is alive and well in Martin County, where arts and culture embody the natural beauty of the Sunshine State. Dance, music, theater, visual arts, and historical preservation each play an integral part in the community, with dynamic event and festivals celebrated year-round. Luckily for visitors and tourists alike, there is a diverse collection of museums throughout our region dedicated to showcasing, celebrating, and preserving the various facets of Martin County’s rich history.
From the interactive activities of the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast to the fascinating collections housed within the walls of The Elliott Museum on Hutchinson Island, there’s always something new to learn and discover. Here, we take a look at some of the must-see museums of Martin County.
The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast (TCM) can be found in the heart of Indian RiverSide Park in Jensen Beach. Their mission is to offer children and families a place to explore and learn through hands-on and interactive experiences. The museum opened its doors in August 2008 with four initial exhibits. Since then, they have added eight additional exhibits, and the museum is still growing!
TCM regularly organizes special programming days, which are extremely popular with the locals. Admission is free for members and babies less than 12 months old. Entry for children ages one and two-years-old is $4.25, and children three-year-old and older cost $8.50 for admission. They do offer special discounts for military personnel, first responders, Bank of America employees, and more, so be sure to check their website for full details.
The Stuart Heritage Museum is located in the oldest commercial building in Stuart and Martin County. Step back in time to learn about the unusual, the forgotten, and some of the fascinating people, events, and places from Martin County’s storied past. The purpose of Stuart Heritage Museum and its exhibits is to help preserve the culture, artifacts, and history of Stuart and its surrounding communities. The countless relics housed by the museum define the history of the people, businesses, agriculture, and community spirit of the City of Stuart and Martin County.
The Stuart Heritage Museum is open daily (with the exception of specific holidays) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the museum is always free, although donations are accepted. Just keep your eyes peeled for the big red building in charming Downtown Stuart!
The Court House Cultural Center and Gallery is managed by the Arts Council of Martin County. Serving Stuart and Martin County, the Court House Cultural Center Gallery hosts fine art exhibitions and special programming and events throughout the year. The center’s goal is to celebrate and share the arts with the community, and its galleries are host to local, regional, and internationally renowned artists. The gallery offers guided tours by appointment, various volunteer opportunities, and the fine art gallery features paintings and artwork available for purchase.
Designed in the art deco style and built in 1937 as a federal Public Works Administration project, the building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1997. Learn more about their current and upcoming exhibits here. The center is open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While admission is free, donations are greatly appreciated.
The Elliott Museum on Hutchinson Island has been a hidden gem on the Treasure Coast since its debut in 1961. The museum enriches the community through its wide variety of exhibits, collections, and lectures – all of which are designed to serve the interests of the people who live in and visit Martin County and beyond. Visitors can enjoy its impressive collection of rare and classic cars, trucks, bicycles, and boats; baseball memorabilia; local history and Americana; a variety of art; a tribute to actress Frances Langford; and even a Foucault Pendulum. Be sure not to miss their ever-changing calendar of events, and grab a bite at the brand new O’s Café at the Elliott.
The Elliott Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., although it does close for major holidays. Admission for adults is $14; senior citizens (over 65) cost $12; children ages six to 12 cost $6; and children younger than six are free.
Step back in time to the turn of the century with a visit to the House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert’s Bar on Hutchinson Island. Built as one of ten original Houses of Refuge along the east coast of Florida, these were designed to be safe havens for shipwrecked sailors. It is the oldest structure in Martin County, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, and is the last House of Refuge still standing. The museum today has been restored to showcase various exhibits, including artifacts from the Ais Native Americans; historical lifesaving equipment; and the Keeper’s living quarters at they existed back in 1904.
Managed by the Elliott Museum, the House of Refuge is open for guided tours from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults; $7 for senior citizens; $6 for children (ages six to 12); and free for little ones younger than six years old.