Tampa Bay History Center

The Tampa Bay History Center is located in downtown Tampa situated at the end of the Tampa Riverwalk. It was founded in 1989 by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and has since become affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute.

As the name suggests, the Tampa Bay History Center (TBHC) is more than just a museum. Here, visitors of all ages can come to learn about Tampa’s past as well as enjoying various educational events to learn more about the place they live. TBHC incorporates a multicultural direction by focusing on a broad range of topics in Tampa’s history from the First People, the Seminole Wars, the age of European exploration, to Ybor City’s immigrant roots, and more. To start at the beginning, we can look at an opinion piece by a shoemaker in The Weekly Tribune in 1882 that emphasized the need to make Tampa a place of historical interest. Tampa would not see a brick and mortar building for its history until local Tampan J. Thomas Touchton started a non-profit for the History Museum of Tampa-Hillsborough County in 1989. Since that time, the museum has had two moves from its initial location on Harbour Island: the first being to the convention center and the second in 2009 to its current location next to Fort Brooke park, after a long battle to acquire funds from the Hillsborough County Commission. The commissioners agreed on a budget of $17 million for a proposed new permanent location for the history center. The new location opened in 2009. In just three years, the TBHC became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute museum and later accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2015. The History Center also sets itself apart from other museums in Florida by being the only one of its kind to offer a cartographic research center and having an extensive archive of historical Florida maps. TBHC tells a story of Tampa from 10,000 years ago to the port city we know today. There is a significant emphasis on the culture and heritage that Tampa has with its first people, Ybor immigrants, cattle-raising, Tampa’s war efforts, and its festivals and professional sports. The History Center is known for its influence on the community, using programs and events to generate interest in Tampa’s public history. Whether its Sangria and Stories or Florida Conversations, there is also an event coming up where TBHC will host a talk about Tampa’s cultural history. The History Center also hosts various events year-round for kids, such as summer camps, Girl Scouts, and the youth council. TBHC has cemented its place in downtown Tampa by becoming a lively place for public history and becoming an educational place for people of all ages.

Tampa Historical is created by student reserach.
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801 Water St, Tampa, FL 33602