TAVARES — Only two weeks remain to see the popular "Spanish Pathways Through Florida" exhibit at the Lake County Historical Museum, located at 317 W. Main St. in Tavares.
The exhibit, which was made available by the Museum of Florida History, will close sooner than expected at the end of August due to a scheduling conflict. The exhibit has been a popular attraction, but room is needed for upcoming exhibits, such as the First Annual Lake County International Pickle Festival to be held on Friday, Oct. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m.
"It's been very well attended," said Dr. Diane Kamp, Director of Lake County Museums, about the Spanish pathways exhibit. "So far we counted more than 4,500 visitors to the museum since the exhibit opened in June."
The "Spanish Pathways Through Florida" exhibit features artifacts and information about Hernando De Soto's expedition for gold that originated from Charlotte Harbor, Fla., in 1539. De Soto landed in Charlotte Harbor with six ships of more than 600 men and 200 horses. The conquistador's expedition through the Southeast lasted until May 21, 1542, when he died of fever near the Mississippi River in Arkansas. Along the way, the expedition endured rough terrain, harsh weather conditions and many native ambushes and conflicts.
"The expedition had some camps in Lake County because the land was so lush and the natives had a variety of crops available," Kamp said. "Food was important because the expedition included more than 600 men. Berries and nuts found along the way definitely would not suffice such a large contingency."
The museum, which features free admission, is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. There is always something new to see and do at the Lake County Historical Museum. For more information about the museum or to schedule a tour, call (352) 343-9600.