Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center is a three-story building in downtown Tampa, set right along the river, that tells the story of thousands of years of Florida history. There are dozens of exhibits throughout the the museum, both permanent and temporary, that educate visitors about everything from the ancient culture of Florida's Native Americans to Tampa's modern role as a port city. Along with the exhibits, The History Center also has a museum store, the Witt Research Center, a map gallery, event hall, and the Columbia Café, a cafe that serves Cuban food. The museum is a Smithsonian Institute Affiliate, which guarantees free admission.
Backstory and Context
On the second floor the exhibits are more about Florida's pioneer past. There is a replica log cabin, an exhibit on cattle drives, and displays about Fort Brooke, a U.S. fort that had been established in Tampa after Spain gave Florida to the United States. There is also the J. Thomas and Lavinia W. Touchton Collection of Florida Cartography, a gallery that houses three thousand maps of Florida. The museum hosts various programs throughout the year, including historical lectures, a sangria club, Saturday kids activities, and a "My Doll and Me" drop-off program where kids can explore the time periods of their favorite American Girl characters. There are many special holiday events throughout the year as well, such as a Halloween trick-or-treat event, a Fourth of July celebration, and Christmas holiday craft making.