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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.


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


Pensacola: Florida’s Second City

October 5 – April 25, 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.

Coming Soon

Sunshine State Showdown:

Pro Wrestling in Tampa Bay

March 7 – October 18, 2020

Wrestling’s ancient origins date back to the dawn of civilization. Egyptians and Greeks each had wrestling traditions, but it was the Romans that turned wrestling into a spectacle.

Professional wrestling’s more immediate roots, however, draw nourishment from early American society. American Indians engaged in wrestling matches and a young George Washington, a master of the “collar-and-elbow” style, was a local wrestling champion in Virginia. Decades later Abraham Lincoln used his wiry 6 foot 4 frame to toss opponents, using “side hold” techniques, in hundreds of matches.

New wrestling techniques, heavy promotion, huge purses, and worked matches transformed wrestling in the early twentieth century. Traditional collar-and-elbow and Greco-Roman styles of wrestling dwindled in popularity as professional wrestling was married to American carnival culture as the twenty-first century dawned.

As barkers drew in “marks” and bearded ladies combed their facial hair to entertain gawking Americans, new hybrid techniques were created that increased the spectacle and show of wrestling.

Wrestling slumped during the Great Depression, but its economic doldrums did not last. Why? You guessed it, a glowing metallic boob tube.

With its well-lit ring, dramatic characters, and scripted action, wrestling was the perfect sports entertainment product for TV. This was not lost on network executives hungry for programming, and by 1949 professional wrestling had a primetime slot on all four television networks. This extensive televising of squared circle slug fests democratized the American wrestling audience.

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