Visitors of all ages love the experience of traveling to the past through Historic Pensacola Village’s sites, buildings, exhibits, and tours. This area gives a taste of life from Pensacola of bygone eras and can turn anyone into a history-lover.
To preserve the past for today’s visitors to Pensacola, the University of West Florida Historic Trust maintains the Historic Pensacola Village site and its homes. This non-profit group also staffs the area with living history reenactors. This bring history to life and tour guides to further educate visitors. It continues the work of historic preservation and education started by its predecessors.
Few other cities in the United States boast more than 400 years of history for visitors to explore. When you visit the Historic Pensacola Village, you wade through a historic timeline dating from the middle of the 16th century to today.
The historic village officially includes 30 properties, with a dozen open to the public for visits. In fact, there is so much to explore in the area that you have seven days to use your tickets.
Make sure to include the following can’t-miss sites and experiences in Historic Pensacola Village when you go there:
Pensacola Museum of History
Each time you visit the Pensacola Museum of History could be a different experience. The permanent exhibits at this Mediterranean-Revival-style building accompany temporary displays that change regularly. Make this your first stop on your visit to Historic Pensacola Village to get an introduction to the area’s history from the “City of Five Flags” permanent exhibit.
Also, check out the other permanent exhibit focused on one of Pensacola’s most well-known businessmen, Martin “Trader Jon” Weissman. He ran an eccentric bar that matched his personality. An eclectic crowd patronized his Trader Jon’s Bar for years. The exhibit recreates the festive atmosphere of the bar as it recalls this unique portion of Pensacola’s history.
Museum of Commerce
Find out more about daily life in the late 1800s in Pensacola at the Museum of Commerce. Walk inside the former warehouse to discover a replica of an outdoor street and trolley from the 1890s. On this self-guided tour, stroll past shopfronts, and view scenes of daily life from the era.
Buildings in the Museum of Commerce streetscape include a music store, a leather goods shop, a hardware store, a toy store, and homes. By peeking into these replica stores, you’ll feel like you’re a resident of Pensacola from a century ago.
Museum of Industry
Explore the era of sailing and industry at the Museum of Industry. This self-guided museum takes visitors on the journey that Pensacola went through to emerge from a small military garrison on the frontier to a bustling port and industrial town.
You’ll learn about how early residents of the town made bricks, fished, and harvested timber. If you have any interest in the history of these industries or simply learn about life as a Pensacola resident in one of these trades, stop by the Museum of Industry.
Guided Historic House Tour of Pensacola Village
While many of the museums and buildings have self-guided exhibits to browse at your own pace, you shouldn’t miss the guided Historic House Tours of the Pensacola Village. Twice a day, based on guide availability, tours take visitors to four historic sites in the area.
This walking tour includes stops at the Old Christ Church, Dorr House, Lavalle House, and the Lear/RochBlave House. You cannot see these homes without being part of a tour. However, the guided tour gives you much more insight into the significance of these homes and churches in Pensacola Village.
For instance, the tour guide will help you to better appreciate the design differences between the Lavalle House, which is French Creole from 1805, and the Dorr House built after the Civil War in 1871.
Plus with the guided tour, you will have the chance to ask questions about the property and Pensacola Village. Don’t miss this interactive tour of Pensacola Village’s historic buildings.
Pensacola Children’s Museum
The history of the area around Pensacola helps people of all ages today better appreciate the town. Kids can also enjoy a history lesson at the highly popular Pensacola Children’s Museum. If you have kids eight and younger, add this stop to your visit to Pensacola. Older kids will likely appreciate other museums around Historic Pensacola Village.
Interactive exhibits will ignite your kids’ imaginations when they visit. They can pretend to be back in time in the days when Pensacola was a Spanish fort. A replica fort, Spanish ship, and trading market of the time enhance kids’ play and encourage interest in this historic era.
Galleries on the second floor also encourage an interest in Pensacola’s history by recreating settings that kids of those times would know. For example, kids visiting the Pensacola Children’s Museum can act as students or teachers in a colonial one-room replica schoolhouse. Or they can paddle a canoe as they learn about the native peoples who lived in Pensacola before Europeans arrived.
Younger kids who visit this museum can have an unparalleled experience of history that could prime them to want to learn more as they grow older.
Voices of Pensacola
Voices of Pensacola multicultural center focuses on the diversity of the contributors to Pensacola’s history. Exhibits include a history of jazz on the Gulf Coast and posters depicting bygone landmarks from the area. Other past traveling displays have included Jane Peaden’s travel diaries and exhibits on black Americans living during the Jim Crow era.
While not the largest of museums, this venue should still rank among your stops when at the Historic Pensacola Village.
History lovers of all ages must visit Historic Pensacola Village for a week’s worth of activities in one convenient location. Guided tours, museums, and much more will give you and your family plenty to do and enjoy while visiting Historic Pensacola Village.