Cotanchobee Newsletter Spring 2018
Where the big water meets the land! Click here to view the newsletter.
TBHC receives American Alliance of Museums accreditation
Tampa Bay History Center joins the prestigious list of museums accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
(Tampa) – As the Tampa Bay History Center prepares to mark seven years in its waterfront facility in Tampa’s Channel District, the museum that houses nearly 100,000 artifacts related to the history of the Tampa Bay area has received a very special anniversary present: The History Center has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) in Washington D.C.
According to stats compiled recently by the Washington Post, there are more museums in the U.S. than Starbucks and McDonalds locations combined. Of the approximately 35,000 museums, historic houses, aquariums and more across the country – everything from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. to the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida – approximately 2% are accredited by the AAM.
The History Center joins a select national list of just over 1,000 AAM-accredited institutions, including nine museums in the Tampa Bay area and just over 50 in Florida.
AAM accreditation is a rigorous process that includes a detailed self-study, a review of the museum’s “core documents,” a multi-day site visit by peer reviewers, and a final determination by the Alliance’s Accreditation Commission.
In the History Center’s Accreditation Report, reviewers noted that in the areas of both fundraising and the care of historical artifacts, the museum “could be a model” for other institutions. They went on to state that “the History Center should be commended for creating a high-quality, life-long learning experience for its visitors and the Tampa Bay region.”
“This is a big step for us,” said C.J. Roberts, the History Center’s Frank E. Duckwall President and CEO. “Achieving accreditation is a stamp of approval, it means we’re providing the best stewardship of the resources entrusted to us,” he said.
Founded in 1989, the History Center opened a new, 60,000-square-foot facility in Tampa’s Channel District in January of 2009. With more than 80,000 annual visitors, the History Center is a cultural anchor on the southern end of downtown Tampa’s recently-completed Riverwalk, and also includes the Columbia Cafe, a branch of the world famous Columbia Restaurant.
In 2011, the History Center became a Smithsonian Affiliate, again joining a select list of institutions recognized for their commitment to serving their communities.
For more information about the Tampa Bay History Center, visit www.tampabayhistorycenter.org or, call (813) 228-0097.
The Tampa Bay History Center – A Smithsonian Institution Affiliate Museum − includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida history. The History Center features a Museum Store, the Witt Research Center (a branch of the Hillsborough County Public Library System), a map gallery, an event hall and the Columbia Cafe. One of Tampa’s premier cultural venues, the History Center’s hands-on, cutting-edge interactive exhibits and programs offer a fun, educational experience for all ages. www.tampabayhistorycenter.org.
A Rare Collection of American Flags is on Exhibit Now at the Tampa Bay History Center
Original American flags from the 1790s through 1960 trace the evolution of the Stars and Stripes throughout America’s history. The exhibit includes Andy Warhol’s print “Moonwalk.”
(Tampa, Tuesday, April 3, 2018) — The history of the American flag includes iconic moments of revolution, union, war, protest and patriotism. Indeed, for generations prior to 1960, the United States flag was an ever-evolving symbol that reflected the growth of the nation.
Based on one of the preeminent collections of American flags in the world, “American Flags: The Stars and Stripes in American History and Culture, Presented by Bank of America,” is on exhibit now at the Tampa Bay History Center through July 29.
The exhibit features more than 20 original flags dating to the 1790s, including a 27-star flag marking Florida’s admission into the Union; an 1876 Grand Union Flag; a “Know Nothing” flag from 1849; and a 14-star flag from 1791.
Works from American pop artists Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns are also included. Johns’ Flag (1954) and Warhol’s Moonwalk (1987) illustrate the American flag’s place in popular culture, while photography from the 1960s and September 11, 2001 illustrate the symbolic power of the Stars and Stripes to rally Americans in times of crisis, protest and celebration.
“This exhibit highlights the incredibly important place that the flag occupies in our national consciousness, and also how its use in popular culture has changed through the years,” said museum curator Rodney Kite-Powell.
“Bank of America is proud to partner with the Tampa Bay History Center to bring this powerful reflection on our country’s flag and its role in our history to Tampa Bay. Cultural institutions like the History Center are instrumental in creating a vibrant and healthy community.” Bill Goede, Tampa Bay President for Bank of America.
“American Flags: The Stars and Stripes in American History and Culture” is on view now through July 29 at The Tampa Bay History Center. The exhibit is supported by Bank of America.
Admission is $14.95 for Adults; $12.95 for Students; $10.95 for ages 7-17 and free for children 6 and under.
The History Center is located at 801 Old Water Street in Tampa’s Channel District. More information is at TampaBayHistoryCenter.org or call 813-228-0097.
The Tampa Bay History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida history. The History Center features a Museum Store, the Witt Research Center (a branch of the Hillsborough County Public Library System), a map gallery, an event hall and the Columbia Cafe. One of Tampa’s premier cultural venues, the History Center’s hands-on, kid-friendly activities, together with cutting–edge interactive exhibits and theaters provide an entertaining and educational experience for visitors of all ages. For more information, visit www.tampabayhistorycenter.org.
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News
Tampa Bay History Center Joins Blue Star Museums Program
The History Center will offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer
(Tampa, Florida, May 23, 2018) – The Tampa Bay History Center is proud to participate in the 9th annual Blue Star Museums program, offering free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard, Reserve and their families, from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2018.
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America.
Free admission to the History Center is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members.
“Visiting a museum is a great way to get to know a community—whether it’s in your hometown or a stop on a road trip,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu.“ We appreciate the enthusiasm of museums all across the country who open their doors for military and their families to spend time together and have new arts experiences.”
Located along Tampa’s Riverwalk, the History Center features three floors of exhibits, including the all-new “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates and Shipwrecks” gallery. The History Center is also currently presenting the traveling exhibit “American Flags: The Stars and Stripes in American History and Culture,” which features original, hand-sewn American flags dating back to the American Revolution. “American Flags” is on view through July 29.
The Tampa Bay History Center is located at 801 Old Water St. in Tampa. For more information about the Tampa Bay History Center’s participation in the BlueStar Museums program, visit tampabayhistorycenter.org or, call 813.228.0097.
Located on Tampa’s Riverwalk, the Tampa Bay History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida’s history and culture. A Smithsonian Affiliate museum and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the History Center includes the Touchton Map Library and Florida Center for Cartographic Education and the Witt Research Center, and is home to the Columbia Cafe. One of Tampa’s premier cultural venues, the History Center’s hands-on, interactive exhibits and theaters provide an entertaining and educational experience for visitors of all ages. For more information, visit www.tampabayhistorycenter.org.
About Blue Star Museums
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 26, 2018 through Labor Day, September 3, 2018.
The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as Active Duty and Reservists, National Guardsman (regardless of status), U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.
Follow Blue Star Museums on Twitter @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily, #bluestarmuseums.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.
History Center Maps the Florida-Cuba Connection
A new exhibition at the Tampa Bay History Center features rare maps spanning five centuries of interaction between Cuba and Florida
(Tampa, June 20, 2017) — For some, the connections between Florida and Cuba begin with Fidel Castro’s takeover in 1959. For others, especially in Tampa, they begin 70 years earlier with the arrival of the cigar industry and the founding of Ybor City in 1886. Or, maybe it was back in the 1850s when the McKay family started shipping cattle from Tampa’s Ballast Point to Havana. However, in “Gateways to the Caribbean: Mapping the Florida-Cuba Connection,” a new exhibit opening Saturday, July 1 at the Tampa Bay History Center, you’ll find an unbroken thread between the Sunshine State and the island nation dating back nearly 500 years.
On view through January 28, “Gateways to the Caribbean” charts five centuries of connections and interaction between Florida and Cuba through rare and original maps, lithographs and other documents. In total, the more than 50 maps that make up “Gateways to the Caribbean” highlight the Spanish and British occupations of Cuba and Florida in the 15 th and 18 th centuries, the development of rail and steamship lines that fostered trade and travel in the 19 th and early 20 th centuries, and tourist maps of Cuba printed both in the 1930s and as recently as 2016. Also included in the exhibit are a collection of color lithographs depicting the British attack on Havana in 1762, in which they seized control of the island and rested Florida away from Spain; a print by Cuban artist Ibrahim Miranda, created at the University of South Florida’s Graphics Studio in 2012; and several tourists and travel maps, on loan to the History Center from History Miami in South Florida. Gateways to the Caribbean: Mapping the Florida-Cuba Connection” is on exhibit Saturday, July 1, 2017 through Sunday, January 28, 2018. For more information, visit TampaBayHistoryCenter.org, or call 813-228-0097.
The Tampa Bay History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida history. The History Center features a Museum Store, the Witt Research Center(a branch of the Hillsborough County Public Library System), a map gallery, an event hall and the Columbia Cafe. One of Tampa’s premier cultural venues, the History Center’s hands-on, kid-friendly activities, together with cutting-edge interactive exhibits and theaters provide an entertaining and educational experience for visitors of all ages. For more information, visit www.tampabayhistorycenter.org.
History Center Maps the Florida-Cuba Connection
The $11 million project will add new galleries and cartographic center featuring centuries-old maps and artifacts.
(Tampa, Dec. 14, 2016) — From the Bucs to Gasparilla, pirates – real and imagined – are an inescapable part of
Tampa Bay’s popular culture.
The Tampa Bay History Center will lend some power to Tampa’s local pirate lore when as the museum located
on Tampa’s Riverwalk embarks on an $11 million expansion project scheduled to begin in January.
The new “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks” gallery at the History Center will feature a 60-
foot replica sailing vessel and focus on explorers who landed in “La Florida” more than 500 years ago, pirates
who wreaked havoc along Florida’s coasts in the 17th and 18th centuries, and efforts to recover long-forgotten
shipwrecks from Florida’s waters.
The new “Treasure Seekers” gallery is part of an 8,500-square-foot expansion that will also include the Touchton
Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education (TML/FCCE), a partnership with the University of South
“We celebrate our role as this community’s storyteller,” said History Center President and CEO C.J. Roberts.
“Expanding our galleries allows us to tell an even bigger story about the state of Florida, early European
exploration, maritime history, shipwrecks and piracy. It will make the History Center even more of a destination
for visitors and locals,” he added.
The History Center’s expansion project includes the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic
Education. A partnership with the University of South Florida, the map library and cartographic center will be
home to some 6,000 maps dating back to the discovery of the New World, and will be the only research library
of its kind in the Southeastern United States.
Access to an additional 10,000 maps and other documents via USF Libraries will make the Touchton Map Library
among the largest collections of Florida cartography anywhere in the world.
“The maps in this collection span five centuries,” said Rodney Kite-Powell, who was tapped to lead the map
library and cartographic center. “It’s truly a world-class collection, something that doesn’t currently exist in the
state of Florida.”
The partnership between the History Center and USF continues a multi-year partnership between the museum
and the University, which already includes the publication of the Tampa Bay History Journal, an annual lecture
series, special exhibitions, and internships for USF students.
With this one-of-a-kind library and cartographic center, located near our Center for Advanced Medical Learning
and Simulation and the future home of our Morsani College of Medicine and USF Health Heart Institute, the
University of South Florida will forever be on the map of downtown Tampa,” said USF President Judy Genshaft.
“We are pleased to deepen our partnership with the Tampa Bay History Center, thrilled to share the treasures
that will be housed in this expansion, and proud to play such an important role in the revitalization of the
With map collections spanning the arrival of early European explorers to 21st century applications of geographic
information systems, USF has an ideal partner in the Tampa Bay History Center,” said USF Libraries Dean, Todd
Chavez. “Our collaboration improves access to unique historical documents while advancing innovative research
and educational opportunities.”
Rare artifacts recovered from shipwrecks off the coast of Florida, including 400-year-old navigational tools,
weaponry and pottery, will also be on permanent display in the new “Treasure Seekers” gallery.
The focus on Florida’s maritime history allows the museum to explore the science, technology and engineering
of centuries-old sailing vessels and how sailors used primitive tools and the stars to navigate unknown waters.
“Adding the maritime stories allows us to expand our educational offerings beyond history into science,
technology, engineering, art and math,” said CEO Roberts.
The expansion comes at a time of growth for the History Center, which has seen attendance climb 20 percent
over the past two years, surpassing 100,000 visitors annually. The Channel District where the History Center is
located is also poised for a massive multi-billion-dollar redevelopment, which is just getting underway.
“It’s a great time for both the History Center and Tampa,” said Roberts. “We’re both charting a bold course for
this area’s future.”
Quick Facts – Tampa Bay History Center
• Opened in 2009, the Tampa Bay History Center tells the stories of the Tampa Bay area and
“historic” Hillsborough County
• Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums
• Smithsonian Affiliate
• Visitation has increased steadily to more than 100,000 annual visitors, including 10,000+
students from bay-area schools
• Southern “anchor” of the Tampa Riverwalk
• Home to the Columbia Cafe
Expansion Project Quick Facts
• Construction is scheduled to begin in January, with completion scheduled for Fall 2017
• Will add 8,500 square feet on TBHC’s third floor, increasing gallery space by one third
• New “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks” gallery will tell the story of the
“Age of Discovery,” roughly the 16th century through the early 18th century
• Includes the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education (TML/FCCE), in
partnership with USF
• (TML/FCCE) will be the only cartographic research center in the Southeastern U.S., one of only 9
in the nation, and will house more than 6,000 maps and documents dating back to 1493.
• TBHC has raised more than half of an $11 million fundraising effort.
History Center Unveils New ‘Treasure Seekers’ Expansion
The all-new multimedia gallery experience tells the story of Florida’s conquistadors, pirates and shipwrecks.
(Tampa, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018) — Set sail with the Tampa Bay History Center this weekend as the museum, located on downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk, unveils “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates and Shipwrecks,” an all-new gallery experience opening to the public Sunday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m.
The first expansion of the History Center since opening in 2009, the 8,500-square-foot permanent addition features a 60-foot, 18th-century pirate ship as its centerpiece, and introduces visitors to explorers who landed in “La Florida” more than 500 years ago as well as little-known pirates like “Calico” Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny, who prowled Florida’s coasts in the 1700s.
The Treasure Seekers gallery also dives into the science and technology of shipwreck recovery, showing how centuries-old vessels are recovered from the ocean floor.
The new addition to the History Center includes the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education (TML/FCCE), a partnership with the University of South Florida that will feature some 6,000 maps of Florida and the Caribbean dating back to the 15th century.
“We’re telling a Florida story,” said History Center President and CEO C.J. Roberts. “Conquistadors, pirates and privateers, shipwreck recovery – many of these things were happening not just in the Tampa Bay area, but across the state. The new gallery expands our focus and gives visitors a broader, Florida-wide view of history,” he added.
The new gallery also features a world-class collection of maritime artifacts, including rare navigational tools, weapons, jewelry, coins and other artifacts recovered off of Florida’s coasts dating back to the 1600s, some of which will be on view to the public for the first time.
Visitors will learn about Florida’s maritime history via the latest in museum technology, including hologram pirates, an immersive, choose-your-own-adventure theater experience, and a celestial ellipse on the gallery ceiling showing how sailors used the stars to traverse unknown oceans.
Opening weekend for the “Treasure Seekers” gallery will feature family-friendly historical re-enactors, special gallery tours and talks, hands-on arts and crafts for kids included with regular admission.
The Tampa Bay History Center is located at 801 Old Water Street in Tampa’s Channel District. Tickets start at $10.95 for children age 7 and up. Free for children age 6 and under. More information is at TampaBayHistoryCenter.org or call 813-228-0097.
Quick Facts – Tampa Bay History Center
- Opened in 2009, the Tampa Bay History Center tells the stories of the Tampa Bay area and “historic” Hillsborough County.
- Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2014
- Smithsonian Affiliate
- Visitation has increased steadily to more than 100,000 annual visitors, including 10,000+ students from bay-area schools.
- Southern “anchor” of the Tampa Riverwalk
- Home to the Columbia Cafe
Expansion Project Quick Facts
- 8,500 –square-foot permanent exhibition gallery on TBHC’s third floor, increasing gallery space by one- third
- New “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks” gallery tells the story of the “Age of Discovery,” roughly the 16th century through the early 18th century.
- Includes the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education (TML/FCCE), in partnership with USF
- (TML/FCCE) is the only cartographic research center in the southeastern U.S. and will house more than 6,000 maps and documents dating back to 1493.
- The new expansion is part of an $11 million capital campaign, which includes construction of the new gallery, operation of the Touchton Map Library, improvements to the History Center’s existing galleries and building, and additional funding for the History Center’s operating endowment.