Tampa Bay History Center is a history museum in Tampa, Florida. Exhibits include coverage of the Tampa Bay area's first native inhabitants, Spanish conquistadors, and historical figures who shaped the area's history, as well as a reproduction of a 1920s cigar store. The museum is on the waterfront at 801 Old Water Street in Tampa’s Channelside District. It opened on January 17, 2009. The History Center building is60,000 square feet (5,600 Sq mi) with 25,000 square feet (2,300 Sq mi) of exhibit space.
Tampa Bay History Center timeline
Hillsborough County was 14 times its present size when it was established by the Florida Territorial Legislature in 1834. Its boundaries included all or part of 24 present-day counties, stretching from Ocala to Lake Okeechobee and St. Petersburg to Orlando. In the early 1880s, Tampa residents expressed concern that there was no organized effort to preserve and display local artifacts. In the January 19, 1882, issue of The Sunland Tribune, County Judge J. G. Knapp wrote, "... no time should be lost in snatching the historical artifacts from the waste and death of oblivion. Who shall do it?"
The museum's exhibition galleries explore 500 years of recorded history and 12,000 years of human habitation in the Tampa Bay region.
Icons of Tampa Bay The museum’s main entrance, the glass-enclosed Lykes Atrium, showcases 14 colorful icons representing historic characters, events, and symbols unique to the Tampa Bay region. Icons include: 1902 Oldsmobile; tug boat; Gasparilla ship; Tampa streetcar; B-26 bomber; Florida cowhunter; Babe Ruth; Tampa cigar label; longshoreman; strawberry plane citrus label; steam engine; Tampa Bay marquee; flamenco dancer; and tarpon angler.
Winds of Change Theater Beginning with Pánfilo de Narváez’s landing near Tampa Bay in 1528, Winds of Change profiles some of the first European explorers who came to Florida. Shot on location in Florida, the film features historical characters portrayed by local re-enactors.
Florida's First People display
Florida's First People The Tocobaga and Calusa tribes resided in Central and South Florida beginning over 12,000 years ago. The Florida’s First People exhibit features original and replica artifacts from pre-European contact ranging from the Paleoindian Period (12,000 B.C.-6,000 B.C.) through the Mississippian Period (1,000 A.D.-1,600 A.D.). Tools, weapons, and pottery are displayed, along with original artwork by St. Augustine artist Theodore Morris.
European Exploration Story Using an oversized map of the Atlantic Ocean, the European Exploration exhibit details the arrival of Spanish and French explorers who landed in Florida at the beginning the 16th Century. Artifacts are related to Spanish exploration, including period clothing, weapons, and tools.
Your Tampa Bay This interactive map of the Tampa Bay region enables visitors to take a virtual tour of significant landmarks. Visitors can view photographs and detailed information about each point of interest.
Cowmen & Crackers This exhibit puts viewers in the middle of an actual cattle drive on the Lightsey Ranch in Kissimmee. Artifacts include branding irons, whips, saddles, and other ranching-related equipment. Kids can pretend to brand a cow and ride a horse.
A Place of Our Own Our area’s natural resources support industries in phosphate mining, fishing, and agriculture. The Land & Sea area features a grove stand filled with “Floridiana,” a restored 1908 Reo automobile, and a “design your own crate label” interactive station.
Port City The story of Tampa’s industrial ports begins with an introductory film inside an actual shipping container-turned-theater. Kids can also play with a hands-on “Tiny Tampa” port interactive.