Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Calling All Spies!

Prepare to accept your mission! Decipher clues, crack codes and get a special look at the History Center’s newest exhibit: Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs during The Great Caper: Operation Spy!, Sat., March 31 beginning at 10 a.m.

The History Center provides the clues as spies-in-training hop on and off the TECO streetcar line through Channelside and Ybor City in search of espionage, history and mystery. Get things started with a scavenger hunt inside the museum before sneaking off to see some of Tampa's historic urban landmarks and treasures. Return to the History Center for spy crafts including creating a homemade cipher wheel and writing with invisible ink.

The Great Caper: Operation Spy! takes place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. $12 per child; $18 per adult includes streetcar fare and TBHC admission for the day. TBHC members receive a $3 discount for adults and a $2 discount for children. Pre-registration is recommended.

The Great Caper: Operation Spy! is sponsored by the Tampa Downtown Partnership and the TECO Line Streetcar System.

For more information, contact Assistant Curator of Education, Jennifer Tyson, at (813) 675-8960 or

*The Great Caper is recommended for spies of all ages. Spies Traitors Saboteurs exhibit recommended for ages 12 and up.

My Doll and Me Program Takes Girls Back in Time

Too young for Twilight, but not really into Harry Potter? What’s an 8-12 year old girl to do? Why, come to the History Center, of course! Each Saturday morning in February during the My Doll and Me series, local girls crafted items similar to those found in the popular historical fiction series, American Girl ©. Characters and their corresponding dolls came to life as girls explored various historical eras by making a scooter out of found materials the way “Kit” did during the Depression or experiencing a tea party as “Samantha” would have in 1904.

What could be more adorable than little girls dressed up for a tea party with their dolls? Add pink lemonade and photo-snapping parents, and you’ve got a finale to the My Doll and Me program that will go down as one our best.

“The girls had a great time," said one parent. "When they were leaving, they asked the instructor to ‘put us on the list for next year.'"

Thankfully, they won’t have to wait that long. Join us this summer as we host our American Girls camp from July 23-27. More information may be found on our calendar of events.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Florida Conversations Welcomes Freedom Riders Author Ray Arsenault

The History Center welcomes author and USF St. Petersburg professor Raymond Arsenault to the Florida Conversations Lecture Series on Wed., Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Arsenault will discuss his 2006 book Freedom Riders and share stories about his time in the national limelight, including last year’s release of the PBS documentary based on his book and his appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Arsenault’s book chronicles events that took place during spring and summer of 1961, when 450 Freedom Riders set out to change the world by simply boarding a bus. For six months, several racially-integrated groups of Freedom Riders traveled from Washington DC through the Deep South, defying Jim Crow laws, putting their lives on the line for racial justice, and setting the stage for the civil rights movement.

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 History Center at (813) 228-0097 or visit our website.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America

Anarchist Globe Bomb, c. 1886.
Black Tom. Haymarket. The Palmer Raids. These names may not evoke a strong response today, but each represents a decisive - and sometimes deadly - chapter in U.S. history. The Tampa Bay History Center invites you to revisit these sometimes-overlooked events during Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America, on exhibit Sat., Feb. 4 through June 24.

How did the government respond after German saboteurs detonated a bomb in New York Harbor in 1916? How did the public feel about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII? Was the FBI's monitoring of celebrities and writers such as Marilyn Monroe and John Steinbeck justified?

Spies presents more than 100 acts of terror, treason  and civil disobedience in American history, allowing viewers to consider how they might have responded, the motivations of the participants, and whether the government's response was adequate or a violation of our basic rights and liberties.

For more information about the exhibit, visit our website or, listen to an interview with History Center Curator Rodney Kite-Powell. To see more images from the exhibit, visit our facebook page.


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