The John G. Riley Center & Museum welcomes people of all ages to journey back in time through the antebellum period, the civil war, reconstruction, and the civil rights era from the often untold perspective of African Americans. Engage with the Riley Museum through tours, events, programs, history trails throughout Tallahassee and so much more.
Hours Of Operation
Tuesday – Thursday: 10 am – 4 pm
*Reservations are highly suggested to secure your desired tour date & time.
Children, K-12: $3.00
1. Historic Riley Home Tour: Admission includes a tour of the historic home of John Gilmore Riley, constructed in 1890. During this tour, visitors will also experience the current exhibition featured by the Riley Museum and view the unique animatronic of John Gilmore Riley.
2. Smokey Hollow Commemorative Site: Located adjacent to the Riley historic home, the Smokey Hollow Commemorative site tells the story about the community surrounding the Riley home. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the area just east of downtown Tallahassee and west of Myers Park Drive was an African American community called Smokey Hollow. According to the Tallahassee City Directory, published in 1904, there were five houses on Riley’s block on Jefferson Street, all owned by black men. In 1919, there were six homeowners, and they too were black. Several other homes, owned or rented by blacks, surrounded the Riley property, extending up College and Gadsden Streets.
This situation changed in the 1950′s when plans for the Department of Transportation Building and the expansion of Apalachee Parkway encroached into the boundaries of the Smokey Hollow community and the residents were forced to relocate under eminent domain. By 1978, only two houses remained, that of John Riley and John Hicks, a black tailor who lived across the street from Riley. Hicks died in the early 1970′s and his home was purchased by Colmar Corporation for speculative purposes.
The Commemorative site and park include three “Spirit Homes”, frames of shotgun-style houses, typical of the Smokey Hollow community. Each Spirit Home is accompanied by maps, photos, and historical information about the area. The site also features a community garden, a remembrance fountain, and a variety of fruit and vegetable trees. Tours of the site are also included in admission.
3. Step-On Guided Tours: Step-On Guided tours highlight other African American landmarks and legacies that accentuate Tallahassee’s diverse cultural landscape. Tour guides are available at a rate of $100.00/per hour. Average tours are approximately 2-4 hours in length and can be customized to meet your unique scheduling needs. The fee only covers the cost of the tour guide; groups are responsible for securing their own transportation. The fee does not cover admission fees for individual historic sites.
The Riley House Museum
The Union Bank Building
The Old Capitol Building
The Historic Frenchtown Community
Old Lincoln High School
Florida A&M University
Meek-Eaton Black Archives
The Knott House Museum
4. Frenchtown Heritage Trail: Embark on a self-guided tour of thirteen markers that provide an authentic history of the Frenchtown community in Tallahassee that was settled and occupied exclusively by African Americans after the American Civil War ended in 1865. The map of the markers is available HERE and physical copies of the map are available at the Riley Museum. Visitors also have the option to experience the history of Frenchtown virtually “at your fingertips” through the Tallahassee Leon County GIS “story map” (tlcgis.org/history).