Totally Tallahassee and Beyond: Mission San Luis - A Living History Museum

Tallahassee's only national historic landmark, park and museum
Posted at 9:39 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 21:39:58-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — An opportunity to enjoy nature, history and community.

"The history of San Luis is not one that is told in the history books and it's one that is so important to both Florida and Tallahassee," Brian Kelley, museum interpreter of Mission San Luis said.

"You can experience life in a certain time period but understand how it's important to our time period now," April Kirk, Executive Director of Mission San Luis added.

Mission San Luis is Tallahassee's only national historic landmark, a park, and a living history museum.

It tells the story of a mission established in 1656.

"Apalachee Indians lived here in conjunction with the Spaniards, and the Apalachee chiefs asked the Spanish friars to come to the area. They moved to the high hill in Tallahassee, to be able to build the mission build the church and provide that religious spiritual experience for the Indians," Kirk said.

Mission San Luis was one of more than 100 mission settlements established in Spanish Florida between the 1560s and 1690s.

Between 1656 and 1704, more than 1400 Apalachee Indians and Spaniards lived at the mission.

"There was a sense of community. It was the tribal elders and Spanish friars working together to build the community," Kirk said.

The buildings at San Luis included Spanish and Apalachee residential areas, the Franciscan Church and Spanish Fort as well as the native Council House.

A fire was always lit in this structure - a focal point for Apalachee life in the mission - A courthouse, civic center, city center - even a hotel - the beating heart of the Apalachee people.

A visit to the Mission is an experience on many levels.

"You can step back into time, see things in action, you can touch, feel, smell, hear, participate," Kirk said.

A museum dedicated to educating and preserving a history, that might otherwise be forgotten.

"The Apalachee history in Florida, while they were one of the first and most prosperous of that time we've lost that history," Kirk said.

Hear the ring of the blacksmith's hammer, smell traditional foods being cooked and explore 300-year-old artifacts excavated onsite, escape to another time, and share the spirit of Mission San Luis.

"We're a piece of history, we're preserving history but we're also teaching, learning ourselves and being a part of the Tallahassee community," Kirk said.

There are many different free events and classes offered for the community at Mission San Luis.

Just go to their website by clicking here for a full list.