Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition tells the story of one of Florida’s oldest and most important cultural activities. Cattle ranching in North America began when Spanish explorers introduced horses and cattle in the 16th century, and flourished in the hands of the Seminoles, Crackers, and other Floridians. Today, ranching is an essential economic activity that preserves many aspects of the natural landscape, protects water resources, and maintains areas used by wildlife or for recreation.
The exhibition traces cattle ranching from its early beginnings in Colonial Florida through present-day cattle ranching. Some of the topics included in the exhibit are Colonial Florida, Seminole cattle ranching, Cracker cowboys, cow dogs, auctions, oral traditions, rodeos, and material culture. The exhibit includes artifacts, archival photos, artwork by cowboy artists, cowboy poetry, audio and video components, and images by guest photographers Jon Kral, Bob Montanaro, Jimmy Peters, and Carlton Ward, Jr.
Florida Cattle Ranching was produced by the The Florida Folklife Program in the Department of State, with the assistance of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Florida Humanities Council, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, the Florida Cracker Cattle Association, Lalla Rook Tompkins, Iris Wall, and Susanne and Pete Clemons. Traveling exhibition made possible by the Museum of Florida History.