Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two New Programs For Families: A Little History and Morning at the Museum

Children and their favorite adults are invited to the Tampa Bay History Center to enjoy A Little History and Morning at the Museum, two new monthly programs designed for families.

A Little History

On Saturday, January 16th the theme for A Little History is Big Movers: Trains, Planes and Ships. The History Center’s early childhood educators will entertain and enlighten with stories, crafts and other age-appropriate activities related to the History Center’s exhibits and galleries.

Held one Saturday per month from 10-11:30 a.m., A Little History is open to children ages 3 to 5 with an adult companion. Each session is $10.00 per child and $6.00 per adult. Members of the History Center receive a $2.00 discount.

Morning at the Museum

On Saturday, January 23rd, bring the whole family for Morning at the Museum, a before-hours exploration of the History Center. Our educators will lead a special “kid-friendly” tour, with hands-on games and activities in the galleries. Afterwards, enjoy guava pastries and other breakfast treats provided by the Columbia Cafe.

Morning at the Museum is held one Saturday per month from 9-10:30 a.m. and is open to children ages five and up with an adult companion. Each session is $10.00 per child and $14 for adults. History Center members receive $2.00 off child admission and $3.00 off for adults.

Pre-registration is required. Contact Jen Tyson at 813-675-8960 or jtyson@tampabayhistorycenter.org for more information or visit our website.

Why do they call it that? Bearss Avenue and Pinellas County | WTSP.com 10 Connects

Why do they call it that? Bearss Avenue and Pinellas County WTSP.com 10 Connects

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tampa Sports History, 12/29/79

This week 30 years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their playoff debut. Just 3 seasons removed from an 0-14 record, the Buccaneers captured the NFC Central Division championship with a 10-6 record. Still, the Buccaneers had much to prove to the odds-makers as they entered the game as an underdog to the Philadelphia Eagles.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the December 25 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tampa Sports History, 12/16/84

This week 25 years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers closed out a disappointing 1984 season at home against the New York Jets. The game -- John McKay's last game as head coach -- turned out to have one of the most memorable, and controversial, endings to a game in team history.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the December 18 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why do they call it that? Ybor City and Davis Islands | WTSP.com 10 Connects

Some call it Davis Islands, while others leave off the "s". Even city signs have it both ways. So who's right, and who was Davis? Plus, the founder of Ybor City didn't exactly name the town after himself.

Why do they call it that? Ybor City and Davis Islands Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota WTSP.com 10 Connects

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tampa Sports History, 12/11/69

This week 40 years ago, the Tampa Boxing Commission voted unanimously to license a fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. News of a potential fight at Tampa Stadium involving Ali sent shock waves throughout the community and triggered a debate on whether to allow the controversial fighter the chance to resume his career in Tampa.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the December 11 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Audrie's Odds and Ends

Salt, lemon juice, and lying in the sun… Ahhh, the perfect recipe for... oh no, wait! I’m not enjoying a margarita. I’m talking about cleaning vintage tablecloths!

From wonderful kitschy heavy cotton "lunch cloths" to the most pristine whites, table linens of the Depression Era could be purchased for a mere pittance. Spending only a dollar or two, it was a great way for housewives to liven up their kitchens and raise the family's spirits. Today, the garish holiday-themed patterns and any of the “50 States” tablecloths (especially if found with the paper tag in place) are a collector’s dream and could cost as much as two or three hundred dollars. A true collector would not dream of putting one of these finds on the dinner table.

For many of us, however, these colorful cloths, tucked away in our servers, are like time capsules from our childhoods. We may remember our mother or grandmother chastising cousin Tommy for knocking over the cranberry sauce or clicking their tongues when uncle Harry, after "just one more sip", knocked over the best crystal goblet leaving the red wine in a puddle on Santa's face.

These Victory Women wasted no time at the end of the meal "clearing up". Food was wrapped and put away, dishes were washed, dried and placed in the cupboards, and the tablecloth was left to soak in the hottest possible water. With that, the blemished fabric could wait until the next day when they would agitate it gently with their hands so as not to damage the threads. They knew the most effective way to clean their textiles was to use a centuries-old method: a little lemon juice mixed with salt. The cloth was rinsed in extra-hot water, taken outside and stretched flat on the ground where sunlight combined with the water and grass would brighten and remove any stain naturally. Some refer to this age-old technique as "crofting" or "grass bleaching".

It did the trick back then and will still work today. What could be “greener”? You simply lay clean, damp linens out on a green, grassy lawn on a sunny day. The combination of sunlight, water, and grass causes a natural bleaching action to occur. If you try this method, make certain that you sun both sides equally and lightly spray with water periodically if necessary. Colorfast dyes were not used until after 1935 so you may want to spot-test the fabric first. When completely dry, wrap the cloth in acid free tissue before you stow it away for next year.

So, go find that bright red poinsettia tablecloth your mother got from your great aunt Mary's cousin Fred's wife and don't be afraid to use it this holiday season. And, with the left over ingredients, make yourself a margarita.

Audrie's Odds and Ends is an occasional column written by our Museum Store Manager, Audrie Rañon featuring tips on shopping and caring for vintage Floridiana.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why do they call it that? Bearss Avenue and Pinellas County | Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota | WTSP.com 10 Connects

Why do they call it that? Bearss Avenue and Pinellas County WTSP.com 10 Connects

Tampa, Florida -- They're a pair of names whose pronunciation has puzzled people for decades. We have the stories behind all the different ways to say Bearss Avenue and Pinellas County.
Why do they call it Bearss Avenue -- and how do you pronounce it?

Each Wednesday the Saunders Foundation Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center answers the burning question, "why do they call it that?"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tampa Sports History, 12/5/69

This week 40 years ago, the Brandon Eagles made a memorable run to the state Class AA football finals. An undefeated regular season set up a showdown with the 10-0 Clearwater Tornadoes at Tampa Stadium, a clash of styles between a stingy Eagle defense and a high-scoring Tornadoes offense.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the Nov. 27 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tampa Bay History Center Receives Tampa Downtown Partnership's Urban Excellence Award

The Tampa Bay History Center was honored at the Tampa Downtown Partnership's Third Annual Urban Excellence Awards on December 2nd. The Urban Excellence Awards recognize individuals, businesses, organizations, projects and events that have made significant contributions toward creating a unique, vibrant and diverse downtown Tampa.

The History Center was among seven winners selected from 28 finalists. Other winners included Park(ing) Day/SuperTest, The Arlington, Healthy Together, Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Institute and Picnic in the Park. In addition, Walbridge, the lead contractor for the History Center, was presented with an Excellence Award.

The History Center is proud to be recognized with this honor and we congratulate all of the nominees and winners. Together, we're helping to make Tampa's downtown a vibrant place to live, work and play.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Why do they call it that? Wimauma and the Howard Frankland Bridge

Each week the Sounders Foundation Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center, Rodney Kite Powell, joins 10 Connects to reveal the stories behind the bay area's place names and local landmarks. This week he shares the stories behind Wimauma and the Howard Franklin Bridge. Why do we call it that? Rodney knows the answer. Read more...

Tampa Sports History, 11/30/69

This week 40 years ago, the Miami Dolphins and Boston Patriots of the AFL played the first regular season professional football game ever in Tampa. The game, televised nationally on NBC, would give Tampa a chance to show the rest of America that it could support pro football.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the Nov. 27 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tampa Sports History, 11/18/49

This week 60 years ago, the University of Tampa squared off against Florida State University at Phillips Field, the 'Noles first visit to Tampa. The Spartans were playing to avoid a winless season, while the Seminoles hoped to clinch their first bowl appearance.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the Nov. 20 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tampa Sports History, 11/12/74

This week 35 years ago, a Tampa native and Chamberlain High School graduate earned one of the most prestigious awards in all of baseball. Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who grew up playing youth baseball in Drew Park, became the National League's Most Valuable Player for his standout 1974 season.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the Nov. 13 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why do they call it that? Dale Mabry and Thonotosassa | From the Tampa Bay History Center and 10connects.com |

Why do they call it that? Dale Mabry and Thonotosassa 10connects.com Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater

Each week the Sounders Foundation Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center, Rodney Kite Powell, joins 10 Connects to reveal the stories behind the bay area's place names and local landmarks. Why do we call it that? Rodney knows the answer.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Columbia Restaurant:Celebrating a Century of History, Culture and Cuisine

Don't miss Florida Conversations tomorrow, November 10th at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City featuring USF librarian Andrew Huse and Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart. The two will discuss Huse's new book, The Columbia Restaurant:Celebrating a Century of History, Culture and Cuisine.

Huse, a librarian with the University of South Florida Libraries Special and Digital Collections, worked closely with the Gonzmart family to write this new centennial history of the famed Tampa restaurant.

With a historian's eye for accuracy and a storyteller's ear for anecdotes, Huse traces the fortunes of the Columbia from the founder, Casimiro Hernandez Sr., to his great-grandson, fourth generation restaurateur Richard Gonzmart.

Florida Conversations features authors presenting on the history, culture and people of Florida and is a partnership with the University of South Florida Libraries Florida Studies Center.

The event is free and open to the public. For additional information or to find out about upcoming lectures, visit our website or call (813) 228-0097.

Tampa Sports History, 11/9/79

This week 30 years ago, a pair of undefeated high schools, Plant City and Plant, squared off to decide the District 7 football championship. The hype surrounding the game, moved from Plant's home field to Tampa Stadium, made for one of the most anticipated showdowns in local prep sports history.

To read more, check out the Tampa Sports History blog, or the Nov. 6 print edition of La Gaceta newspaper.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ferdie Pacheco Unveils Stamp at the Tampa Bay History Center

Painter, fight doctor, author and Tampa native Ferdie Pacheco will be at the Tampa Bay History Center on Friday, November 6th for a reception celebrating the selection of his Mahatma Gandhi portrait by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) for inclusion on a new stamp.

The UNPA released the stamp designed by Pacheco on October 3rd, which is not only the International Day of Non-Violence, but also Gandhi’s 140th birthday.

The stamp and various other works will be on display in the Tampa Bay History Center’s Museum Store and the Lykes Atrium during the day. An artist's reception for the stamp unveiling will begin at 5:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served at the reception. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the History Center at (813) 228-0097.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mayor Iorio Dedicates Riverwalk South Plaza

Mayor Pam Iorio joined Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita, City Council Chairman Thomas Scott, Friends of the Riverwalk, and others for the official dedication of the Tampa Riverwalk South Plaza.

“Our city has so many wonderful things, but one thing it lacks is connectivity,” she said, adding, “One day you’ll be able to walk from the Channel District all the way to Tampa Heights.”

After cutting the ribbon, the Mayor walked with the crowd down the Riverwalk, the Blake High School marching band leading the way. The procession stopped in front of the Tampa Bay History Center before the Mayor invited everyone to enjoy complimentary refreshments at the Columbia Café.

Once completed, the 2.2 mile Riverwalk will link the Channel District and the Tampa Bay History Center to other cultural destinations located along the Hillsborough River.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pine Needle Basket Making Demonstration in Museum Store

Local artist Teri Thompson will conduct a pine needle basket weaving demonstration at the Tampa Bay History Center this Saturday, October 24, from noon to 4:00 p.m. Ms. Thompson will talk about the history and making of the baskets in the Seminole Indian tradition.

The demonstration with take place in the History Center’s museum store, where examples of Thompson’s craftwork will be on display and for sale.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the museum store at (813) 675-8973.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hillsborough County Commissioners Vote to Re-Name Tampa Bay History Center

On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted 7-0 to rename the Tampa Bay History Center building the 'J. Thomas Touchton Tampa Bay History Center.' The name of the institution will remain Tampa Bay History Center.

This renaming was brought forward by Commissioner Rose Ferlita to honor the dedication and drive Touchton demonstrated to make the new facility a reality. Touchton, the founding chairperson, spent 20 years actively raising both endowment and capital funds for the History Center project. In addition, the Touchtons are in the process of donating their historic map collection of more than 3,000 items to the Center. These maps and charts represent some of the "Florida" map-makers visions that have been created over the past 400 years. Many of these maps are already on display at the Center. "It pleases us very much to know that our maps will find a good and appropriate home at the Tampa Bay History Center, an institution which we confidently believe will become one of the finest regional history museums in America," said Mr. Touchton.

Please join us in congratulating the Touchton family on this great honor.

Monday, October 19, 2009

History Center Welcomes Carlton Ward, Jr.

The Tampa Bay History Center is pleased to welcome acclaimed photographer Carlton Ward, Jr. for the next installment of the Florida Conversations Lecture Series, Thursday, October 22nd at 7:00 p.m. in the History Center’s TECO Hall, where a collection of Ward’s photographs are on display.

The History Centers museum store is the first retailer to carry Ward's new book, Florida Cowboys: Keepers of the Last Frontier, which documents Florida’s rural ranchlands, quite a contrast to more familiar, cosmopolitan views of the state. His stunning photographs, complemented by twenty historical, cultural, and environmental essays from Dana Ste Claire, Joe Akerman, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon of Florida, and the Seminole Tribe, among others, celebrate the grit and raw beauty of the Florida heartland and its enduring cowboys.

Carlton Ward, Jr. is an eighth-generation Floridian from a pioneering ranching family. An ecologist by training, Ward regularly produces stories for newspapers and magazines, including Smithsonian, GEO, National Wildlife, Africa Geographic, Nature Conservancy and Outdoor Photographer. He began his career as a travel photographer for the St. Petersburg Times in 2001. Ward was featured in the June 2008 issue of Popular Photography as one of three photographers working to save vanishing America. Ward is a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and founded the Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC) in 2004 to promote Florida conservation through the necessary collaboration of science and art.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cattle Exhibit Stampedes Into History Center

Don your best cowboy boots and join us on Saturday, September 19th for the opening of Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition, the first exhibit to open in the Tampa Bay History Center's new third-floor Gallery.

Florida Cattle Ranching chronicles the history and culture of one of Florida's oldest industries. Southern pioneers, Florida "Crackers" and Florida Seminoles all played a part in Florida's ranching legacy, which began when Spanish explorers brought cattle and horses to Florida in the 16th century. To date, cattle ranching remains an integral part of the state's economy.

This exhibit features oral histories, Florida folk music, cowboy art and documentary footage.
Saturday's opening will include whip-making demonstrations, children's activities, and a book signing with author Joe Ackerman.

Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition was produced by the Florida Folklife Program, Department of State, and Florida Cultural Resources, Inc. Funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts/Folk & Traditional Arts, Florida Humanities Council, Florida Cattlemen's Association, Florida Cattlemen's Foundation, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Cracker Cattle Association, Lalla Rook Tompkins, Iris Wall, and Susanne and Pete Clemons. The traveling exhibit was made possible by the Museum of Florida History.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Join Us For Our Fall Book Group Discussions

Join the History Center’s informal book group for engaging discussions on a variety of Florida books. Meetings are held monthly from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the History Center’s 2nd floor classroom, and are free and open to the public.

September 24 An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century by Jack E. Davis

October 22 Florida Cowboys: Keepers of the Last Frontier by Carlton Ward

November 19 The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine by Andrew T. Huse

Book club members receive a 20% discount on book group selections purchased from the Museum Store. For more information about the book group, call (813) 228-0097.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to the Future: Sustainable Design Then and Now

On Saturday, August 29th at 10:30 a.m., the Tampa Bay History Center, together with the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, will host Back to the Future: A Comparison of Sustainable Design Practices Then and Now, featuring the Tampa Bay Hotel and the Tampa Bay History Center.

Back to the Future will compare the design of the Plant Hotel, constructed in 1891, with the design of the Tampa Bay History Center, completed in 2008, focusing on the “green” building techniques each structure employed to withstand Tampa’s subtropical climate.

“Many historic buildings such as the Tampa Bay Hotel were designed to be sustainable,” commented C.J. Roberts, President and CEO of the History Center, “The Tampa Bay History Center uses modern technology to accomplish similar goals.”

Tickets are $12.00 and include admission to the History Center. Architects seeking Continuing Education Credit are $20.00. Members of the H.B. Plant Museum and the History Center are free. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event or, to pre-register, click here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"So Long and 30 from Times"

This was the headline from the August 14, 1982 edition of the Tampa Times ('30' is newspaper jargon for the end of a story). The afternoon paper, founded in 1893 and purchased in 1958 by the larger and more successful Tampa Tribune, had printed its last issue. Simple economics drove the decision to cease publication of the Times, but there were larger social changes -- similar to what is going on today -- that doomed the once venerable afternoon paper.

The older Times was not always the weaker of Tampa's two daily newspapers. When radio stations began springing up in the 1920s, it was the Times that secured, in 1922, the ownership rights to WDAE, Florida's first radio station. The Times and WDAE shared resources, even stories, eighty years before "media convergence" would become a standard phrase.

Unfortunately for the Times, their luck did not extend to the 1950s when a new, more powerful medium -- television -- appeared on the scene. The Tribune won the license to operate WFLA-TV in 1955, leaving the Times at a great disadvantage. The very medium that the Times pursued contributed to its ultimate demise. The ever-increasing popularity of television came at the expense of the afternoon newspapers. The cash-strapped Times was purchased by the Tampa Tribune Company in 1958. The two papers continued as competitors, but it became apparent which paper was destined to outlast the other.

The same forces that drove the Times out of business -- new and faster forms of media, shorter attention spans, greater economic competition -- are at work today. Much like Tampa in the early and mid 20th century, the Tampa Bay area today has two daily newspapers battling each other for limited consumers. TV, the Tribune's early salvation, has now become a major competitor. More importantly, the internet is further eroding readership from all newspapers. The rise of the St. Petersburg Times as a regional newspaper makes one wonder if the area is big enough for two daily papers. The public's increased reliance on the internet further pushes the possibility that, some day in the near future, there may be no more dailies in print at all.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mass Transit In Tampa: Past, Present and Future?

Sixty-seven years ago this week, Tampa Electric Company ended Tampa's electric streetcar service. A popular and efficient method of mass transit that had existed in the city since 1885 came to a halt, replaced by buses and, more importantly, cars.

That the city and county were at the brink of incredible change in 1946 is undeniable. The end of World War II saw millions of people moving to Florida, with Hillsborough County one of the main beneficiaries of this growth. New neighborhoods, mostly outside of Tampa's compact city limits, grew virtually overnight. The idea of mass transit connecting these was almost unheard of. Cars, and new roads to carry them, were the answer. Sprawl wasn't a bad word; it was a new way of life.

The streetcar system, which connected the old neighborhoods of West Tampa, Ybor City, Hyde Park, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights, Ballast Point and Port Tampa City to downtown Tampa, was seen as a relic of the past rather than a key part of the future. Tracks were pulled up and inventory was sold off soon after the last car entered the TECO carbarn.

We have changed as a city and as a society in those intervening 63 years. The streetcar system was revived, in a very abbreviated way, in October 2002. The current system connects downtown Tampa and Ybor City, but the new streetcar is more tourist attraction than commuter transport. The time it takes to travel between downtown and Ybor -- about 20 minutes -- is unacceptable to many. Part of the reason it takes so long is that streetcars are not given priority in traffic. Cars still rule the roads.

There has been a lot of talk of late concerning mass transit in Florida, specifically high speed rail crisscrossing the state. If we are going to have efficient mass transit connecting Florida's cities, those cities need to have effective intra-urban transportation connecting business and population centers. Perhaps it is time to look to the past for the answer. We probably cannot return to the streetcar system of yesteryear, but maybe there is something to be learned from a system that carried generations of Tampans to work, play, school, and to their homes, every day for over 60 years.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Join the History Center Volunteer Team!

The Tampa Bay History Center is looking for energetic and committed volunteers to serve as tour guides for groups of school children and adults. If you would like to learn about local history and share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others, apply to become a guide at the History Center. By contributing your time, you can learn new skills, work with motivated people who share common interests, and help visitors of all ages connect with the past. Our staff provides ongoing training and education. No experience is necessary—the only prerequisites are enthusiasm, commitment, and a willingness to learn.

Please join us for a new volunteer orientation on September 2, 5:30-6:30 p.m. to find out more about opportunities at the History Center. Seating is limited. Please RSVP at least one week prior to the date. For more information and to RSVP, e-mail historycentervolunteers@gmail.com or call 813-831-2635.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

August School Supply Drive Will Benefit Voices For Children

For the entire month of August, the Tampa Bay History Center is offering one free admission with a donation of ten dollars worth of school supplies. Donations will be accepted upon admission to the museum galleries.

All school supplies collected will be donated to Voices for Children, which supports Guardian ad Litem (GAL) of Tampa Bay. The GAL program provides advocacy for abused or neglected children in the Hillsborough County Dependency Court system. Voices for Children is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide both volunteer guardians and financial means necessary for GAL to continue this vital service to children.

School supplies collected at the History Center will be sent to the local GAL office for distribution to volunteer guardians and the children they represent.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Book Club

The Tampa Bay History Center book club is excited to welcome St. Petersburg Times book editor Colett Bancroft to kick off our summer reading schedule.

This Thursday (7/23) at 10:30 a.m., Bancroft will join the book club for a review of some fun summer fiction, a collection of crime novels set right here in Tampa Bay.

Our summer reading list includes Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey, Sacred by Dennis Lehane, Sucker Bet by James Swain and Tampa Burn by Randy Wayne White.

The book club is free and open to the public. We hope you'll join us!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

History Center Welcomes Florida Genealogical Society

The Florida Genealogical Society is meeting at the History Center this Saturday in the new Witt Research Center. The meeting is free and open to the public and is a great chance to learn about the resources available to you at the History Center. For more on the FGS, click here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monday Fun

Our first Monday Fun Day was a big success. Be sure to mark your calendar for our next Fun Day on July 20th when we'll travel back in time to find out what daily life was like for Florida pioneer families in the late 1800s. For more information on ucoming Monday Fun Days and themes, be sure to check our website.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Celebrate the 4th at the History Center

We're offering free admission for all visitors on July 4th courtesy of a sponsorship by John Bales Attorneys and Bales Security Agency, Inc.

We're also extending the hours of the galleries until 8:30 pm so visitors who want to view the Channelside fireworks from Cotanchobee Park can get some relief from the heat and pass the time until the 9:00 launch. The galleries will be open until 8:30 pm and the Lykes Atrium and Columbia Cafe will be open until at least 10:00 pm.

Get here early as there will be activity throughout the day at Channelside Bay Plaza and multiple showings of “Saltimbanco” at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Park at the St. Pete Times Forum VIP East lot just north of the History Center building, the Channelside parking garage, various downtown surface lots, or, park in Ybor and ride the streetcar!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Monday Fun Days

Begining July 6th, bring your family to the Tampa Bay History Center for Monday Fun Days, featuring hands-on activities, crafts, performances and more.

Our series kicks off with "Passport 1528: European Exploration Story." Learn about the European explorers who came to the Tampa Bay area in the 16th century, and their encounters with the first people of Florida.

Held every other week, Monday Fun Days will focus on a theme related to the History Center’s exhibits and will include crafts, hands-on activities, demonstrations, or living history actors.

Activities are included with the price of museum admission. Upcoming Fun Days are July 6, July 20, August 3, August 17 Check our website for themes and activities.

Photos of Witt Research Center Opening

Check out photos of the June 18th Witt Research Center opening on Flikr by clicking here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Goings On This Weekend

Just a quick reminder:

On Saturday, Author John Cinchett will be at the Museum Store to sign copies of his book, Vintage Tampa Signs and Scenes.

On Sunday, in honor of Fathers Day, dads get in free with one paid admission. Also on Sunday, at 3:00 pm, the Florida Conversation Series concludes with author Martin Dyckman discussing his book, A Most Disorderly Court.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Witt Research Center & Library to Officially Open

The Currie B. and Lavinia Sparkman Witt Research Center, the library located on the second floor of the Tampa Bay History Center, will officially open on June 18th with an Open House that will begin at 11:30 a.m. The event will start with a ribbon-cutting followed by a tour of this valuable new resource.

The library focuses on Florida history and features a diverse collection of books, maps, periodicals, microfilm, photographs, subject files and family histories. In addition to this collection, several computers, a copier and a scanner will be available to assist visitors in meeting their research needs.

The library is the result of a partnership between the History Center and the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System's John F. Germany Public Library. The goal of the partnership is to add the collection of the Witt Research Center to the public library system's online catalog and to encourage visitation to the Center.

The library's hours will be Monday through Friday from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm, with Saturdays by appointment.

Friday, June 5, 2009

June at TBHC

There's quite a bit going on at the History Center in June. Here's a sample of what's coming up:

June 18
The Currie B. and Lavinia Sparkman Witt Research Center, the library located on the second floor of the History Center, officially opens.

Also on the 18th, The monthly Book Group will meet from 10:30 - 11:30 am to discuss A Most Disorderly Court: Scandal and Reform in the Florida Judiciary by Martin Dyckman.

June 20
John V. Cinchett, author of Vintage Tampa Signs and Scenes, will be at the Museum for a book signing.

June 21
Dads get in free for Father's Day with one paid admission.

Also on the 21st, the Florida Conversations Series continues with author Martin Dyckman, whose topic will be "What's All This Fuss About an Independent Florida Judiciary?"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trib's Steve Otto on TBHC

Tampa Tribune columnist, Steve Otto, toured the History Center last week, taking in the exhibits and stopping for a bite at the Columbia Cafe. In his column Otto reports,

"For those of you who have not seen it - and most have not - the new center is going to be one of the defining landmarks of downtown Tampa. Its setting by the channel, and proximity to the expanding Riverwalk ... are spectacular. The Columbia Restaurant's bistro, ... with outdoor seating overlooking the channel and Harbour Island, is hard to beat."

We couldn't agree more. Read the full story.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Fun

Wondering what you're going to do with the kids now that school's out? The History Center has got you covered. We're one of TBO's five cheap things to do in Tampa Bay with your kids this summer. Come spend an afternoon with us.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Join Us For Freedom Fest

In honor of Memorial Day, the Tampa Bay History Center is offering free admission for active and retired military personnel as well as National Guardsmen and Reservists with the presentation of a military ID at the time of purchase. This special offer will be valid May 23rd, 24th and 25th. Click here for more information about Freedom Fest.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Conversation Continues

The 2009 Florida Conversations Lecture Series will continue on Sunday, May 17th from 3:00 until 4:30 pm with featured speaker Jeff Klinkenberg, author of Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators: More Stories about Real Florida.

Klinkenberg is an award-winning journalist with the St. Petersburg Times who writes about Florida nature and culture. He is the first writer-in-residence for the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida and is author of Seasons of Real Florida.

This event is free and open to the public.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Make History With Mom!

We're celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday with free admission for moms with one paid admission.

To commemorate the day, the History Center will have arts and crafts activities for kids in the Lykes Atrium, a special offer on memberships, and a 10% discount at the Museum Store. And, enjoy Mother's Day specials at the Columbia Café after you tour the galleries.

The Mother’s Day celebration will take place during regular business hours at the Tampa Bay History Center.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TBHC Helps ‘Paint the Town Green.’

This Friday, May 1st, the Columbia Café at the Tampa Bay History Center is one of 20 restaurants participating in this year’s Paint the Town Green restaurant and gallery hop.

Bring your PTTG passport to the Columbia Café and enjoy tapas and sangria before heading off to other stops throughout downtown, Channel Side, and Ybor City. Show your passport to receive discounts and specials at each stop along the route.

Passports can be purchased in the museum store here at the History Center for ten bucks and include a TECO streetcar and In-town trolley pass. Paint the Town Green begins at 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TBHC Joins the 'Eco.lution.'

The Tampa Bay History Center is proud to be a presenting sponsor of ECO.lution ’09. This week-long series of events focused on building a greener Tampa Bay comes to Cotanchobee Park on Saturday, April 25th.

ECO.Festival, presented in partnership with Mise en Place and the Tampa Bay History Center, brings local vendors to downtown Tampa’s Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park for a day of local music, organic and gourmet foods and fun, to promote and celebrate Tampa’s riverfront and the local business that make up the soul of our city. Admission to ECO.lution ’09 is free and will feature eco-oriented activities, live performances from local musicians, as well as presentations from a variety of speakers in the Tampa Bay History Center’s TECO Hall.

Be sure to stop by our booth in Cotanchobee Park to pick up a coupon for discounted admission to the History Center during Saturday’s festivities. The History Center will serve as the primary location for ECO.Festival’s series of free informational talks and presentations. Throughout the day, lectures and panel discussions in TECO Hall will address the city’s past, present and future in relation to the river and the Downtown area. Speakers include:

Session 1 - 10:30AM – 11:30AM – The Waterfront City: The History of Tampa’s Downtown Development
Rodney Kite-Powell – Tampa Bay History Center

Rodney Kite-Powell is the Saunders Foundation Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center, where he joined the staff in 1994. His academic degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Florida and a Master of Arts in History from the University of South Florida. Born and raised in Tampa, he has written extensively on the history of Tampa and Hillsborough County. In addition to his duties at the History Center, Mr. Kite-Powell is an adjunct professor of history at the University of Tampa, where he teaches a course on the history of Florida.

Emanuel Leto Bio – Tampa Bay History Center

Emanuel Leto is the Program Outreach Coordinator for the Tampa Bay History Center. He is also the Editor of Cigar City Magazine, a local history publication focusing on the Tampa Bay Area. Before joining the History Center, he served as Assistant Director of the Ybor City Museum Society, where he was responsible for public and educational programming including Otras Voces: The Radical and Alternative Press in Ybor City; Tampa y Cuba: The 500 Year Connection; and Urban Renewal in Ybor City, among other exhibits. A Tampa native, Emanuel is a member of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the American Institute of Architects Cultural Heritage Committee, and the City of Tampa Enterprise Zone Agency Community Board.

Session 2 – 1:00PM – 2:00PM – The River and Civic Connectedness

Phil Compton – Sierra Club / Friends of the River

Phil Compton is the Regional Representative of the Sierra Club’s Florida Regional Office (i.e. state headquarters) in St. Petersburg. Phil is also Chair of the Friends of the River, a grassroots citizens’ group in Tampa that advocates the restoration of the health and beauty of Tampa’s Lower Hillsborough River.

Mary Szafraniec – Southwest Water Improvement and Management Program
Mary Szafraniec is an Environmental Scientist with
Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) focusing on water quality restoration. Before joining SWFWMD, Szafraniec worked as an Aquatic Biologist, specializing in benthic macroinvertebrate and aquatic vegetation taxonomy at the Department of Environmental Protection.

Session 3 – 3:00PM – 4:00PM – Connecting Tampa Through Transit

Beth Alden – Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization

Ms. Alden is a certified planner and Team Leader with the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization. She holds a Master's in Planning from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor's in Environmental Design & Architecture from North Carolina State University. In the last ten years her work in Hillsborough County and West Central Florida has focused on regional coordination in transit planning; public participation and consensus building; environmental justice & plans for the disadvantaged; livable communities & roadways; and the incorporation of public transit, pedestrian and bicycle systems in growth management strategies and tools.

Cassandra Ecker – Jacobs Engineering / TBARTA

Cassandra Ecker is a Transportation Planning Group Manager for Jacobs Engineering in Tampa, Florida, and the consultant team Project Manager for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority Regional Transportation Master Plan project. As Project Manager, Ms. Ecker provides technical support to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on the development of the TBARTA Master Plan, including oversight of the public engagement activities related to the project. She holds a master’s degree in urban planning and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association.

Ed Crawford – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART)

Ed Crawford has been with the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) for 10 years. He serves as agency liaison to the Florida Legislature and U.S. Congress. He oversees all of HART’s media, outreach and marketing activities. Prior to coming to HART he was the executive director of the Tampa-based Alliance for Modern Transit & Livable Communities, Inc., a private, non-profit group which advocated for smarter land-use and transportation planning. He served on the Hillsborough MPO Citizens’ Advisory Committee which he chaired for four years before starting with HART. He is a long time advocate for alternative transportation modes and served as chairman of the Hillsborough Greenways and Trails Committee for eight years. He also served on the MPO’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee for 10 years. In 2000, Ed was selected for a travel fellowship by the German Marshall Fund to study transit, traffic calming, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and urban design in Europe. He has spoken extensively on greenways, smart growth, urban design, transit, traffic calming, and community visioning. He is a native of Tampa, a graduate of the University of South Florida with a B.A. in Political Science, and is a certified planner.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Florida Conversations Lecture Series

Join us this Sunday for another installment of Florida Conversations. This week, historian Andrew K. Frank will present Red Sticks, Creek Warriors, and African Slaves during Jackson’s Seminole War.

Andrew K. Frank is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida State University. He is the author of Creeks and Southerners: Biculturalism on the Early American Frontier(2005).

His talk begins at 3:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Florida Conversations is underwritten by the Tampa Bay History Center Endowment Fund at USF with media sponsorship from The Tampa Tribune. The series is co-sponsored by the USF Libraries Florida Studies Center and the Tampa Bay History Center.

All events take place at the new Tampa Bay History Center, just south of the St. Pete Times Forum, between the Forum and Channelside.

Monday, April 13, 2009

TBHC is Blogging, Tweeting, and Updating You!

The Tampa History Center wants to keep you updated on all of the great things going on at the museum. In addition to this blog, TBHC has added Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr applications in addition to the TBHC website. We encourage you to share the news you find here with your friends and family, as well as to be involved with museum online and off. Add us, follow us, friend us, and be a part of history!


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