Indian Temple Mound Museum in downtown Fort Walton Beach is a small museum in a unique setting. A boardwalk outside the museum allows visitors to climb to the top of the burial mound to view a replica of a ceremonial structure. Inside the museum is an impressive collection of Native American pottery excavated from the Florida coastal area and dating back to before the arrival of Europeans. The displays are interesting, but not flashy, modern or high-tech. The showcases are low enough for children to view the exhibits, and there are several hands-on activities like weaving from palm fronds. There’s a Seminole canoe, arrow heads, and spear tips, but the primary focus seems to be pottery and its importance to the daily life of foraging and hunting Indians. The Indian Temple Mound Museum is part of the Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center which includes three other structures (school house, post office, civil war artifacts) which we didn’t visit. The admission price is modest and we felt we got our money’s worth just visiting the mound museum. There’s also a nice little gift shop with lots of Indian themed items. The museum also has a display featuring Billy Bow Legs, the pirate. The volunteers are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Check the times on the openings; the Temple Indian Mound Museum opened two hours earlier that the others on the day we went.
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