Temporary and Traveling Exhibitions
JFK in Tampa: The Exhibition
November 8-December 8
Extended through January 12!
In 1963, the Beach Boys were on the radio, The Beverly Hillbillies was the number one show on television, and tens of thousands of people turned out to watch President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade roll slowly down Grand Central Avenue. They were excited to catch a glimpse of JFK, the first sitting president ever to visit Tampa. They were not aware of the death threats he had received during his stay, or of the tragedy that awaited him―and the nation― four days later in Dallas.
JFK in Tampa: The Exhibition captures the tension and joy of Kennedy’s 1963 Tampa visit. The exhibit features exclusive, rare film footage of Kennedy in Tampa, as well as photographs, home movies, newspaper headlines, and oral histories from Tampa residents who saw and visited with the President. The exhibition also includes uniforms and badges from the Tampa Police Museum and notes from the Secret Service “Kennedy Detail” which were used while escorting the President around the city.
The exhibition isn’t about conspiracy theories or Kennedy’s assassination. Rather, it’s a time capsule that captures a moment in Tampa’s history and the people that were a part of it. For them, and for the entire city, it was an emotional, magical day.
JFK in Tampa: The Exhibition is on view at the History Center for a very limited time, from Nov. 8 – Dec. 8.
Marking the quincentenary of Ponce de León’s 1513 landing on Florida’s shores, Charting the Land of Flowers traces six centuries of Florida history, bringing together maps from museum and library collections around the world, many of which are on view to the public for the first time.
The exhibit offers a rare opportunity to see the world as the early European explorers saw it, and to watch the peninsula that would become one of our county’s most populous and diverse states evolve before their eyes. They’ll also see that much of the earliest European exploration of North America occurred not in New England, but in Florida, while early railroad maps and travelogues show how the state became an agricultural powerhouse and America’s No. 1 tourist destination.
Intricate and often vibrant ― pink, red, and purple hues abound ― the early maps presented in Charting the Land of Flowers are as much works of art as they are historical documents. Together with atlases, military maps, and satellite images, they chart 500 years of exploration, settlement, and growth in The Land of Flowers.
Select maps featured in the exhibition:
- 1513 Tabula Terre Nove; Portrays the world as it was known at the time of the Ponce de Leon’s Florida landing.
- 1786 Maritime Observations in a Letter by Benjamin Franklin; Includes “A Chart of the Gulf Stream.”
- 1864 “The Capture of Tampa Bay, Florida;” Shows the Union capture of Tampa.
- 1917 American Automobile Association (AAA); Early Florida road map.
- 2009 NASA view of Florida from Space, taken by astronaut and Clearwater native Nicole Stott.
February 1-April 27, 2014
Suited for Space
The history of this country is one of perilous voyages and unchartered territory, but few journeys have captured the imagination and hearts of the public as the race into space. It was seemingly unattainable, but American ingenuity, innovation, and determination made the impossible possible. And it is that ingenuity and innovation that is explored and celebrated in in the History Center's upcoming exhibition, Suited for Space.
Through rare and original photography, including unique, new x-ray images of the interiors of the spacesuits, the exhibit reveals how the modern technological marvel that is the spacesuit enables astronauts to live and work in space. This exhibit reveals the remarkable creativity and determination of the extraordinary few who ventured into space, but it highlights and showcases the brilliant ingenuity of the hundreds more who worked tirelessly—and often anonymously—to get them there.
In May 1961, when President Kennedy made the promise that America would put a man on the moon within a decade, the ability to fulfill that promise existed only in theory. The spacesuit was a critical piece of engineering that allowed Neil Armstrong to step onto another world and survive in the hostile environment of outer space. The Apollo spacesuit he wore evolved from the groundbreaking advances of the Gemini and Mercury mission suits, facilitating movement and dexterity in small spaces, remaining pressurized in zero gravity, and providing essential oxygen, heating, and cooling in as efficient a manner as possible.
The national exhibition tour of Suited for Space is generously supported by DuPont.