If you want to understand a city, its people, and its culture, exploring the city’s museums are a good place to start. Museums hold cultural and artistic items that a people hold dear and find important to part of their collective identity. With this in mind, if you are looking to understand Tampa Bay as a place, a people, or a culture, you should consider exploring their museums. Luckily there are plenty of museums to explore in Tampa. These include:
#1. Tampa Bay History Center – The Tampa Bay History Center is a 60,000 square feet three-floor center with of temporary and permanent exhibits, showcasing Tampa Bay’s and Florida history spanning over 12,000 years. The center one of the largest in the West Coast was opened in 2009 and focuses mainly on Florida’s history as well as the Gulf Coast. It has interactive and hands-on activities that are kids friendly including interactive theatres and exhibits.
#2. Tampa Museum of Art – This museum is primarily a center for exhibiting contemporary art, opened in 1979 and expanded in 2010, the downtown Tampa museum also exhibits Roman, Greek, Etruscan antiquities. In all, the museum has the 6 exhibits that include No Limits: Janet Biggs, Realism, Syntax, etc.
#3. Tampa Museum of Photographic Arts – Usually referred using its acronym – FMoPA, this museum is located at the heart of the art district along the Tamper Riverwalk. The museum has numerous art pieces on permanent display including works by Harold Edgerton, Dianora Niccolini, Burk Uzzle, Charles Harris, Dorothea Lange, etc.
#4. Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) – MOSI is a non-profit museum established in 1962. However, the current location of the museum was developed in 1980 and it opened its doors in 1982. The museum was expanded in 1995 with the installation of the IMAX Dome Theatre. However, in 2017 about 85% of the building was closed down to save on cost. The community-based museum is designed to advance public knowledge of science, technology, and industry.
#5. University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum – This is a museum developed by the University of South Florida within their campus. It opened its doors in 1989 and it mainly exhibits sculptures and graphic designs.
Other museums that should be no anyone’s must-visit list includes the Ybor City Museum, Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center, Henry B. Plant Museum, Cracker County, SS American Victory, and the Glazer Children’s Museum. Visiting a combination of these museums will give you an insight into Tampa and its culture.