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Current Exhibits

On Track: A History of Florida Railroads

Jan. 19-July 14

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.

History by the Pint:
Beer and Brewing in Tampa Bay

March 2 – August 11

OPENING WEEKEND! Get a free History Center pint glass.
One per paid adult guest. While supplies last. March 2 and 3 only.

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, opening Saturday, March 2 at 10 a.m.

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 March 2 through August 11. For more information, visit tampabayhistorycenter.org or call 813.228.0097.

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801 Old Water Street, Tampa, FL 33602