Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Doll and Me

Inspired by the popular American Girl Book series, the History Center invites girls ages 7-12 to travel through time with their favorite historic dolls. Peek into the past with crafts, games, snacks and a very special tea party on the last day of the series. All activities reflect the time period presented each week. American Girl dolls and books are not required for participation.
WHEN: Saturdays, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25 from 10-11:30 a.m.
WHO: Ages 7-12
COST: $55/child, members $60/child, non-members
REGISTER: Contact Jen Tyson at (813) 675-8960 or

Pre-registration required; fee includes child's admission to galleries. This is a "drop-off" program. Parents are not required to attend. For more information about the History Center's Children's programs, visit our website.

American Girl is a trademark of Mattel, Inc.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

International Spy Museum’s Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs Opens at Tampa Bay History Center

A new traveling exhibition at the History Center explores the history of domestic terrorism and espionage from 1776 to Sept. 11, 2001.

Wall Street. Sept. 16, 1920. 12:01 p.m. A horse-drawn carriage loaded with dynamite detonates in front of the J.P. Morgan Bank, killing 38 people and shutting down New York’s Financial District.

The bombing of Wall Street more than 90 years ago is one of many episodes in America’s long history of domestic terrorism, espionage and civil disobedience uncovered in Spies Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America, a new exhibition opening at the Tampa Bay History Center on Sat., Feb. 4.

On loan from the world-famous International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs revisits long-forgotten events in our nation’s history, from the capture of the White House in 1814, to the bombing of the U.S. Capitol building in 1971 to recent events such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11 attacks of 2001.

The exhibition dramatically illustrates the challenges of securing our nation against internal threats without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded, and reflects on how responses to domestic attacks continue to affect our everyday lives.

Timeline of Events

• The City of Washington captured and the White House burned – August 24, 1814

• Manhattan hit by massive explosions in New York Harbor – July 30, 1916

• Anarchist bombings target American leaders – June 2, 1919

• 30,000 Ku Klux Klan members parade down Pennsylvania Avenue – August 8, 1925

• American helps Japanese pilot terrorize Hawaiian island after Pearl Harbor attack – December 7, 1941

• Kremlin launches one of the first Cold War attacks against the United States – April 1945

• Radical group detonates a bomb in the U.S. Capitol – March 1, 1971

• Massive bomb destroys the Federal Building in Oklahoma City – April 19, 1995

• Beyond September 11th – Terrorism Today

Artifacts include:

• More than 145 historic photographs and documents

• Timeline tracing more than 170 different events

• Anarchist Globe Bomb (replica, ca. 1886) presented as evidence in the trial of the men tried in connection with the Chicago Haymarket riot.

• APL Badge and ID Card (1917) carried by operatives of the American Protective League (APL) who spied on their fellow Americans on behalf of the U.S. Justice Department during World War I.

• Ritual Klan Red Robe (c. 1965) worn by the Klan “Kladd,” the elected Klan officer who presided over the secret rituals and ceremonies of the Ku Klux Klan.

• Fragments of the Planes that Hit the World Trade Center (2001), recovered after the attacks on September 11, 2001, and used as evidence by the FBI in their ensuing investigation.

• Visitor Polling Stations, unique computer interactive that allow visitors to express their opinions on questions raised in the exhibition about how the nation has responded to the historical events presented. Poll questions were developed in consultation with The Gallup Organization. Visitors also can see how Americans responded to similar questions posed by the Gallup Poll throughout history.

Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America will make its only scheduled stop in Florida at the History Center Feb. 4 - June 24. The exhibition is recommended for ages 12 and up. For more information on related programming, visit our website or call (813) 228-0097.

Monday, January 9, 2012

History Center Hosts 'Passport to Cuba'

Tampa and Cuba have a storied past dating back hundreds of years. In fact, at the center of Tampa's city seal lies the Mascotte, Henry Plant's steamship that travelled twice a week between Tampa and Havana.

Explore this Tampa-Cuba connection during Passport to Cuba, a new six-week course beginning Jan. 18 at the History Center. Drawing on expertise from USF faculty in a number of disciplines, the class will examine major historical themes, people, and events, including an overview U.S.-Cuba relations and the origins of the Cuban Revolution, as well as Cuban art, architecture and literature.

Lead by Dr. Paul Dosal, Professor of Latin American History at USF and a 3rd-generation Cuban-American born and raised in Tampa, this course is not to be missed.

WHEN: Jan. 18, 25, Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22, 10 a.m.- noon
COST: $50 (6-week series)
REGISTER: Contact OLLI/USF at 813-974-2403 or

Award-winning Author Lu Vickers to Visit the History Center for FL Conversations

Children across the state may be lining up to experience LegoLand, Central Florida’s latest mega-amusement park, but long-time Florida residents remember when the sprawling tourist attraction now located off of Interstate 75 was known by a different name: Cypress Gardens.

Billed as a tropical paradise nestled under a canopy of exotic foliage, Florida’s first theme park is the subject of author Lu Vickers’ award-winning new book, Cypress Gardens, America's Tropical Wonderland. Filled with archival photos, vintage postcards and family snapshots, Cypress Gardens wanders through the 60-year history of the park, opened in 1936 by “The Man Who Invented Florida,” Dick Pope.

Vickers will discuss her book and the history of Cypress Gardens during the Florida Conversations Lecture Series on Thurs., Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Tampa Bay History Center.

Florida Conversations is co-sponsored by the USF Libraries Florida Studies Center and supported by WUSF Public Media and features authors and presenters covering a variety of Florida topics, from politics to fiction, history to environmental issues.

Public parking is available at the Tampa Bay Times Forum East Lot, the Channelside garage and other city-owned lots. For more information, contact the Tampa Bay Center at (813) 228-0097 or online at


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