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Walter Schmidt Museum

Our FGS facility has two areas dedicated to exhibits of geologic interest. Upon entering our outer museum area, you are greeted by a familiar sight: the fossil dugong skeleton that has been a focal point in the FGS museum displays for decades. Joining our dugong is the recently acquired sculpture of the skeleton of Waller’s Terror Bird. In addition to an array of vertebrate fossils is a full-size replica of an extinct shark jaw and a fantastic display of agatized coral heads from the Withlacoochee River, and both of these exhibits are on loan from the Florida Museum of Natural History, with whom the FGS has enjoyed a long, collaborative relationship. Many thousands of specimens of vertebrate and invertebrate fossils once housed at the FGS have been transferred to the museum, where they currently reside For more information concerning this collection and the fossil collection retained by FGS, please see our Fossil Collection page.

Our outer museum showcases and describes Florida’s spectacular geologic formations and surface features. We have exhibits about our aquifer and other geologic resources important to Floridians now and in the past. Displays about ongoing geoscience research highlight how the FGS conducts geologic mapping, drilling, and dye traces to explore the connection between surface water and groundwater.

The inner museum room focuses on rock and mineral specimens collected in Florida and houses the impressive calcite collection of Dr. Tom Scott. The collection is featured in the image below, with close-up images of calcite (upper right) and and calcite featuring cave pearls (lower right). 

Other specimens of note include speleothems (cave deposits), calcite-filled fossil clam shells from Okeechobee County, and calcite crystal-laden limestone boulders collected from Citrus County. Also displayed are petrified wood samples, carbonized plant fossils, fulgurites (sediment fused by lightning), and a large Megalodon tooth.

Representative samples from many of the geologic formations that can be found at or near the surface in Florida are stored within the drawers of the inner museum. These samples are used by geoscientists as they identify and map Florida formations.

The long FGS tradition of providing publicly accessible geologic exhibits continues, and the legacy of our fifth State Geologist, Walter Schmidt, is commemorated by having the museum named in his honor.

Collection viewing by appointment only.

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time
Offices closed for all state of Florida holidays

For more information concerning the Walter Schmidt Museum, please contact:

Last Modified:
November 7, 2023 - 2:31pm

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