History: A walk through the 1880's farm complex or a stroll by a Florida panther habitat at the Natural Habitat Zoo can be as educational as the visitor desires. Basic information about each habitat and historic structure is provided to visitors through such tools as interpretive signs and booklets. A more informative tour can also be arranged with the Museum's education department. Special "hands-on" educational programs and workshops give visitors a personal learning experience about local cultural and natural resources. So, whether the visitor simply wants to stroll through 52 acres of habitats, nature trails and historic structures or if they choose to participate in an educational tour, they will absorb information that will help them to better understand their relationship with history and nature. The cornerstone of the Museum's existence is its mission to increase the knowledge of and appreciation for our region's cultural and natural heritage. In 1957, a group of visionary educators and interested citizens established a facility for the purpose of "bringing about better understanding and appreciation by children and others of wildlife, nature, and the world in which they live, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and history, the culture and development of other times and lands and their people . . . and of the different habits, customs, and modes of such people and times." Since the appearance of this mission statement in the original bylaws, the Tallahassee Museum revised and sharpened the focus of its mission in 1987 and again in 1989. Today, the Museum's mission is "to educate the residents of and visitors to the Big Bend area about the region's natural and cultural history, from the nineteenth century until the present." From its first temporary location in a downtown house, the Museum has grown to become a nationally-recognized, 52-acre organization serving a population of over 435,000 people in a 13-county region. The Museum's educational commitment to children has not only been strengthened but also broadened to include families and adults. The source of the Museum's success has always been the breadth and loyalty of local support. This success has received further recognition through state and national funding support. The Museum's farmstead, historic buildings, collections of artifacts and native wildlife, along with its natural science exhibits, nature trails and Discovery Center, all contribute to the Museum's regional significance as a museum of history and natural science.