On View Now


Current Exhibits

History by the Pint:
Beer and Brewing in Tampa Bay

SatNow through September 29

Almost as soon as the cigar smoke started rising from the factories of Tampa’s Ybor City, the beer started flowing. In 1897, the aroma of Cuban tobacco emanating from the city’s cigar factories mingled with the scent of imported hops fermenting at the Florida Brewery – the state’s first.

Raise a glass with the Tampa Bay History Center for “History by the Pint: Beer and Brewing in Tampa Bay,” a new exhibition highlighting the local beer and brewing community.

The exhibit traces the heady history of beer-brewing in the bay area, from its Ybor origins to Florida’s craft beer capital.

Learn about early breweries and brewing methods, Prohibition’s effects on Florida, the rise of national breweries in Tampa, and how the home brewing movement of the 1970s triggered a cultural shift in the way Americans consume beer.

The exhibit features Florida Brewing Company artifacts, which was the first commercial brewery in Florida, as well as items from larger national breweries that called Tampa home in the 1960s through the 1990s. Also included are photos and items related to the bay area’s craft beer boom from Dunedin Brewery, Cigar City, Ulele, Coppertail and more.

“History by the Pint” is on view at the History Center through Saturday, Sept. 29. For more information, call 813.228.0097.

On Track: A History of Florida Railroads

Now through September 22

The arrival and expansion of the railroad changed Florida in many ways, from the profound to the mundane.  A difficult three-day journey from Gainesville to Tampa was replaced with a comfortable day-and-a-half trip from Tampa to New York.  More important than vacations to the big city, Florida’s farmers could get their products to northern markets in a matter of days rather than weeks, greatly reducing spoilage and increasing profits.

Travel and transport by rail, for passengers and freight, reached their zenith in the mid-20th century.  After World War II, traveling by car – and then by airplane – became more common than by rail, though American commerce still ran on steel wheels.  The increase in foreign imports and subsequent reduction in American manufacturing has led to a decline in freight traffic over the past several decades.

As Florida’s cities become larger, more congested and more densely populated, the idea of connecting the state’s major population centers via high-speed rail continues to arise.  Interurban rail, too, is used in southeast Florida to ease traffic congestion.  The question of how much we will continue to rely on the existing railroad network, and what new lines, if any, we will add, has yet gone unanswered.

Coming Soon

Brick History

October 19 – February 16, 2020

Featuring key figures from Mozart to Martin Luther King, scientific discoveries from the Big Bang to DNA, and recent history from mobile phones to the moon landings, history comes to life in LEGO® bricks during “Brick History,” a new exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center opening Oct. 19.

The exhibit features ­­­28 meticulously crafted models, each depicting a person, moment or discovery that altered world history.

“The Arts” explores creativity from cave paintings to pop art; “Conflict” moves from natural disasters like Pompeii to political disputes such as the Boston Tea Party; “Equality” brings to life the Civil Rights movement; “Exploration” depicts discoveries and inventions that have changed our world, while “Transport” moves from railways and seafaring to flight. 

LEGO® artist Warren Elsmore and his team have created a celebration of our shared stories, struggles and triumphs, made from everyone’s favorite Danish toy.

There will be tables set up inside the exhibit area where both kids and adults can build their own LEGO brick creations. Kids can try their hand at building iconic Florida models, including a palm tree, an alligator, a sailboat and more.

“Brick History” will also feature some bay area flare, with LEGO brick portraits of pirates, local sports logos and a map of Florida by Tampa artist John Fontana with Bricks 4 Kidz.

The exhibit is on view at the History Center in Tampa through Feb. 16, 2020.

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.


LEGO, the LEGO logo, the minifigure, the Brick and Knob configurations are trademarks of the LEGO Group of Companies. 2019 The LEGO Group. Brick History is not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise supported by the LEGO Group.


Pensacola: Florida’s Second City

October 5 – April 12, 2020

If not for a mid-summer hurricane, Pensacola would be celebrating its 460th birthday this year, and it would be known as the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States. Instead, the colony founded by Tristan de Luna in mid-August 1559 was abandoned within two years. Four years after that, in 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles established the colony of St. Augustine. This was the first of many instances where Pensacola would find itself on the outside looking in, and that theme forms the core of “Pensacola: Florida’s Second City,” a new exhibit in the History Center’s Touchton Map Library opening Saturday, October 5.

Despite its runner-up status, Pensacola was and is still an important (if underappreciated) city. 

“Pensacola is often forgotten, or at least downplayed, when the list of important Florida cities is discussed,” said Rodney Kite-Powell, director of the Touchton Map Library. “We hope this exhibition will teach our visitors about Pensacola’s place in Florida’s history.” 

The new exhibit in the History Center’s Touchton Map Library will feature more than two dozen maps, illustrations, promotional booklets and other historical items tracing Pensacola’s past, from its first attempted founding in 1559 through its time as the capital of West Florida, its role as an important shipping center, through its current place as both tourist destination and home to a key U.S. military base.

 “Pensacola: Florida’s Second City” will be on exhibit in the Touchton Map Library’s Saunders Gallery from Saturday, October 5 through Sunday, April 12, 2020.

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