ABOUT SILVER RIVER MUSEUM
The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center is a program of the Marion County Public School system (MCPS). The museum is located within the Silver Springs State Park and works in close cooperation with the Florida Park Service.
While school is in session, on weekdays, the museum serves the school system and the grounds are closed to the public. On weekends, the museum is staffed by park service personnel and volunteers, and is open to the public. Additionally, throughout the year, the museum hosts various educational events and visitors have access to the research library with prior notice.
No admission fee is charged to students enrolled in Marion County Public Schools when they attend a scheduled class field trip, however there is a $3.00 transportation fee per student. Weekend visitors are charged an admission fee to the museum. Charges also apply to private and home school groups, and out-of-county classes for class trips to the museum.
The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center is a unique and effective educational program. The museum serves as a model for other public school systems and exemplifies the strong commitment to education in Marion County. It is an exciting blend of Florida's natural and cultural history, and hands-on education.
The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center provides unique hands-on learning opportunities for Marion County Public Schools students, staff and the general public. Visitors learn about the cultural and natural history of Marion County, and the importance of protecting and conserving cultural and natural resources. Our primary mission is to educate Marion County Public School students about Florida history and ecology, and assist them in achieving the highest scholastic standards possible. Furthermore, we strive to promote good stewardship of our environment with the hope of providing a better tomorrow.
The museum began in 1987 when a Christa McAullife Fellowship was awarded to research the development of a museum and environmental education center within the public school system.
The idea was met with strong support from the community. Local citizens, businesses, civic groups, the Marion County School Board, the Florida Legislature, the St. Johns River Water Management District, and other state agencies all helped to fund the museum. In 1991, the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center opened its doors to the students of Marion County.
The initial complex consisted of the museum and classroom buildings. Through the years the museum has grown with the addition of two exhibit halls, one featuring Florida history and the other the exhibit Dugout Canoes: Paddling the Americas exhibit which was produced by the Florida Museum of Natural History.
A lunch pavilion, research library, late 1800’s Pioneer “Cracker” Settlement, one-room schoolhouse used by African-American students during segregation, wood-fired pottery kiln and several log cabins have also been added to the museum grounds.