Constitution Convention Museum State Park is a Florida state park located in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida. The museum features exhibits about the formation and history of the United States’ first government, as well as an extensive collection of artifacts from the convention which created it. It is also home to the Old Capitol Prison, where former Governor John W. Martin was incarcerated for his role in the 1886 constitutional convention.
Visitors can tour the prison yard, walk through the prison building, see cells, and learn about life inside the notorious facility during its time. A visitor center/museum store offers a variety of items related to this site. There are several monuments around town with information on the history of the state’s capital city; one such monument shows the location of the old prison along with a picture of the original “Cap’n Andy” Martin. On special occasions, reenactments happen at the park involving costumed actors who recreate scenes from the past.
For example, during the third weekend of February (dates vary), there is an annual Presidents’ Day Re-Enactment that includes living historians representing George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln as they discuss the formation of the Confederate Government following their meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, on January 11, 1861. This event has been held annually since 1960 and is put on by the Friends of History organization within the Capital Area Historical Society. Every Labor Day Weekend, another living historian takes on the role of Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union troops into battle against the Confederate forces in the Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1864. Events like these bring visitors out onto the streets of downtown Tallahassee, creating what is known as “casual Friday.”
Each year, approximately 200,000 people visit the park to take part in these reenactments. Other events include historical tours, holiday events, campfire programs, story times, and nature walks. In addition, the park hosts the annual opening day ceremonies for the Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament each summer. Constitution Convention Museum State Park is open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission is $4 per person, children under 13 years of age are admitted at no charge.
Parking is $3 per vehicle. All other fees, including camping charges, apply. To help fund a backlog of deferred maintenance and park improvements, the state implemented an entrance fee for this park. The fees, charged per vehicle, start at $10 per day for a single-day or $8 for residents with an active permit. Fees are waived for honorably discharged veterans and Florida residents age 62 & older and their spouses. Passes good for three days or a week are also available; annual passes good at all 22 state parks charging fees are offered at a cost of $75 for out-of-state visitors or $60 for Florida residents.