| Museum Location
Florida State Fairgrounds
4700 Orient Rd.
Tampa, Florida 33610Getting here
Next public opening: Museum Day
September 27, 2014. Cracker Country is not open to the public daily.
813.627.4225 main number
813.627-4348 classes & tours
Regular Museum Hours
The Museum is open to the public on
select days throughout the year.
Museum office is open
week days 9am-5pm.
Find us on Facebook.
Cracker Country is
Tampa’s only living history museum and is located on the Florida State
Fairgrounds. It was founded with
the purpose of preserving Florida’s rural heritage in 1978 by Mildred W. &
Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. The museum holds a
collection of 13 original buildings dating from 1870-1912 which were relocated
from across the state of Florida. Our buildings range from public buildings like our Terry Store and Okahumpka Train Depot, to
private buildings like our Carlton and Smith homes. Today, the
historically furnished buildings recreate the lifestyles of the past, and
costumed interpreters portray daily living as Florida pioneers.
Cracker Country focuses on providing educational
opportunities for the public to learn about Old Florida.
Every year we see
around 20,000 school children who learn about farm & household chores,
community buildings, and the skills and trades of early settlers.
Our interpreters are a huge part of making our museum
come to life.
give their time to promote the preservation and public education on Florida’s
unique past. We are seeking more
volunteers to help share our history. If you have an interest or know anyone
who might have an interest in becoming a volunteer please contact Jennifer Becker.
Additionally, every February during the Florida State
Fair, Cracker Country opens its gates to the Fair’s guests!
The next Florida
State Fair will take place February 6-17, 2014. Come visit and take a stroll back in
time as you experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Florida’s history.
What is a Florida 'Cracker'?
“Crackers” derive their name from the rugged 19th century pioneers who developed the wild territory now known as Florida. Cattle roamed freely in the Florida woodlands and had to be rounded up before being sold and shipped up north or to Cuba. Lariats, or lassos, didn’t work in the thick underbrush—instead, cow hunters used whips to round them up. The whips were not used to strike the cattle, but were actually popped or “cracked," resulting in a sound similar to a rifle shot. These cracking whips would get the cattle moving and could be heard over very long distances. When early settlers heard the sound they would say, “Here come the Crackers.” The name has stuck and the term “Florida Cracker” is still used today to describe native born Floridians.