Collections and Research
UWF Historic Trust actively collects, holds, and administers objects of historical and antiquarian interest to the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, and West Florida. Our collections contain approximately 150,000 objects. The collection encompasses a wide variety of artifacts including kitchenware and other household items, military objects, tools, furniture, and decorative items. The collection also contains archival material, books, photographs, period clothing and other textiles, toys, automotive items, radios, machinery, medical and scientific apparatus, and more.
In 1850, this cat became trapped inside the walls of a Pensacola house as it was being constructed. The cat's body was not found until 1966 when the building was torn down. Shortly after it was found, the 116 year old corpse was given to T. T. Wentworth, Jr. for his museum where it quickly became the "must see" item! Later that year, Walter Overton, the author and artist of "Southland Sketches, a syndicated newspaper feature similar to Ripley's "Believe it Or Not," featured the cat in one of his segments. Although Wentworth and Overton referred to the cat as "petrified," the poor pussycat is actually mummified. It just dried out; it did not turn to stone. Now 163 years old, it is still a great favorite with visitors to the T. T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum.
Gifts and Donations
Objects offered by the community for addition to the Historic Pensacola collection are evaluated by museum curators based upon several criteria. This enables the museum to focus on preserving artifacts significant to the mission of the agency. For example,
- Does the artifact have historical, architectural, archaeological, or folk culture value relating to the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, or Northwest Florida?
- Does the artifact have potential for research or is it useful for exhibition or educational purposes?
- Does the artifact have legitimate and clear provenance?
- Does the current owner have clear title?
- Can West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc. provide proper storage, protection, and preservation?
If you are considering a donation of a historical object or collection of objects to UWF Historic Trust, feel free to contact our Chief Curator, Wanda Edwards, at (850) 595-5840 or email her. Gift evaluations are documented and sent to the Director who recommends to the Board of Trustees formal acceptance of artifacts to the permanent collection.
The staff of UWF Historic Trust is not allowed to make appraisals because we do not operate as a dealer or commercial auction site. The IRS also considers museums to have a conflict of interest with regard to appraisals. If you are interested in an appraisal, please contact a local dealer or antique appraiser.
During the early years of the 20th century, a traveler to Panama brought back this interesting souvenir. The story that came with it said it was the shrunken head of the 17-year-old son of a tribal chief who had crossed the boundary into an enemy tribe's territory. By the time this head was purchased in Panama, practice of shrinking heads had been outlawed, but the tourist demand for them was still high. Some enterprising individuals in Central and South America manufactured fake shrunken heads to meet that demand. This one appears to have been made from goat skin. It became a great favorite among visitors to the original T. T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum in Ensley. Today you can see it in a curio cabinet in the Lear-Rocheblave House in Historic Pensacola Village.
Hilton-Green Research Library
Research hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Due to staffing limitations and the advance preparation necessary to provide access to most of the museum's collections, we ask researchers to contact us to schedule an appointment. This allows us to determine what collections are needed, assure that they will be available, and explain any restrictions that may apply. Please contact Jacki Wilson, Archivist, at (850)595-5840 or email her.