General Donations

If you prefer you may mail your donation directly to us at:

South Florida Museum
P.O. Box 9265
Bradenton, FL 34206-9265

Or contact Development Director Martha Wells at:

941-746-4131, ext. 35

East Gallery

Now Open - Ocean Soul
the underwater photography of National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry
Dig deeper in to the stories of marine life conservation and biology in our special blog,"Ocean Soul Stories," by clicking here.

Harp Seal, Brian Skerry

Visitors to the South Florida Museum will voyage across the oceans and into the depths of mystery and wonder with National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry to experience the ocean like never before. Ocean Soul, a National Geographic Traveling Exhibition, showcases Skerry’s stunning visual display of the ocean environment and the creatures living there. The exhibition will run through June 7, 2015. The Museum will hold an exhibition reception on Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator Matthew Woodside says of the exhibition, “I first saw the Ocean Soul exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. I was amazed at National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry’s vibrant underwater photography. I came away with a new appreciation for the beauty and mystery of the ocean’s creatures, ecosystems and biodiversity.” He continues, “When I learned that the National Geographic Society offered a traveling version of the exhibition, I wanted to bring this wonderful show  to the South Florida Museum community.”  

A lifelong diver and advocate of the ocean, Skerry is a revered underwater photographer who has shot nearly 20 National Geographic magazine features, profiling ocean environments and marine conservation. He has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater documenting the troubles and triumphs of our planet’s oceans. Whether beneath the Arctic ice or in predator-infested waters, Skerry’s dives in extreme conditions have captured rare and intimate moments of marine creatures in their natural settings. His photographs tell compelling stories of survival, from harp seals fleeing execution by commercial hunters in the North Atlantic to damaged coral ecosystems beginning to rebuild themselves in the central Pacific. 

“To make great pictures, a photographer must observe and truly see,” said Skerry. “Over time I learned that the real value is in being patient, slowing down and watching the world around me.” 

According to NOAA, Earth’s oceans cover 71 percent of the planet’s surface, contains 97 percent of our planet’s water, yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored. SFM Curator Matthew Woodside observes, “Oceans have a major influence on many of the Earth’s systems such as weather, climate and global temperatures. Oceans produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere and absorb most of the carbon from it. We consume more than 170 billion pounds of wild fish and shellfish each year.“ He concludes, “I hope this exhibition will inspire people, as it did me, to think a little deeper (pun intended) about our oceans and the life it supports and to simply be amazed at Brian Skerry’s spectacular photography and amazing stories.”

The more than 50 photographs in the Ocean Soul exhibition are drawn from Skerry’s fall 2011 National Geographic book of the same name, a retrospective of his photography from the last 20 years. Both follow four key creatures whose gripping stories illustrate the health of the world’s oceans: shark, right whale, leatherback turtle and harp seal. The beautiful, hardcover edition of the Ocean Soul book will be available for sale in the South Florida Museum Store during the run of the exhibition ($50).

On view in the Museum’s East Gallery from February 7 – June 7, 2015, the Ocean Soul exhibition is included in general Museum admission. General admission prices are: Adults - $19, Seniors (65+) - $17, Children (4-12) - $14, Children under 3 are free when accompanied by a paying adult. (Museum members are always free for general Museum admission.) 

Dig deeper in to the stories of marine life conservation and biology in our special blog, "Ocean Soul Stories," by clicking here.

Special public program! To Highlight the exhibition the museum has partnered with Weather Eco, a local Eco-Adventure company to provide a unique boating experience on the Manatee River and Tampa Bay. 

Tours will depart form and return to Twin Dolphin Marina

1000 1st Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205, (941) 747-8300.  

Guests will be picked up at the cement floating dock to the left of the Marina office at the end of 10th Street.  If a date has to be postponed due to weather I will move it to the next Saturday.


Mystery of the Mayan Medallion 

Open June 25 – September 13, 2015 in the Museum’s East Gallery

Get a taste of what it’s like to be an archaeologist, biologist or astromathemetician while exploring the world of the ancient Maya. An archeological team has mysteriously disappeared from a dig site in Palenque, Mexico. They had been investigating a long-standing rumor that a priceless jade medallion is buried in the temple there. However, something horrifying has scared them off. Luckily, in their haste to escape, they managed to leave behind a video with clues and a warning to all who come after. The original team has left behind valuable information in the field stations that they constructed. Student Archeologists must uncover the mystery of the dig site and find the priceless treasure. Visitors will have fun learning about science, language and history with hands-on immersive activities!

Exhibition Reception:

Thursday, June 25 at 5:30 pm

Free for Museum Members, $5 for Non-members

Click here for reservations or call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 for reservations