Permanent Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits

Hover over a colored circle to learn more about that exhibit.



Hover over a colored circle to learn more about that exhibit.



Image Map

Explaining his fascination with cartography, Tom Touchton once remarked, “To me, maps tell stories.” The nearly 3,000 maps and charts comprising the J. Thomas and Lavinia W. Touchton Collection do indeed tell stories, not with words but by visually depicting the shape of Florida over almost 500 years. Produced by cartographers of many nations in many times, they tell tales of exploration, conflict and change, with a cast of characters ranging from Spanish explorers to real estate developers. The Touchton Map Gallery also occasionally hosts other non-map-related temporary exhibitions.

La Florida, by Geronimo Chaves. First separately-published map of Florida. Amsterdam: Abraham Ortelius, 1584.

La Florida, by Geronimo Chaves. First separately-published map of Florida. Amsterdam: Abraham Ortelius, 1584.

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The Wayne Thomas Temporary Exhibit Gallery features temporary and traveling exhibitions exploring a variety of historical and cultural topics and themes. Exhibitions are either produced in-house by our curatorial team or borrowed from other museums throughout the country.

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About Wayne Thomas -

Wayne Thomas was born on October 1, 1889 in Springfield, Tennessee.  He moved to Florida in 1904 and was a student at the Summerlin Institute in Bartow. 

Thomas purchased the Plant City Courier in 1909 at the age of 20 and subsequently doubled its circulation.  He worked as editor, owner and/or publisher for several Florida newspapers, including the Courier, the Pensacola Journal and the Dade City Banner, and, in 1917, served as the president of the Florida Press Association.

In 1923, Thomas became an agent for the American Agricultural Chemical Company, leading to his lifelong work with both phosphate and real estate. Known as the “Dean of the Phosphate Industry,” Thomas was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Florida in 1970.

As a conservationist and philanthropist, Thomas donated land for the Hillsborough River State Park and the Boys and Girls Scouts.  In addition, he provided land and funding for several educational institutions.  One of his most significant philanthropic contributions was his purchase of the Leigh Morgan Pearsall Collection of Native American Art, which now resides at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

Supported by the Wachovia Foundation, the Community Case offers organizations the unique opportunity to tell their story within the History Center’s galleries. Non-profit cultural organizations, schools, and neighborhood associations are invited to participate in our Community Case program on a first come-first served basis. If selected, you will meet with the Tampa Bay History Center staff to discuss how to effectively tell your story and what artifacts or other materials you might want to display. Once you have decided on a theme and selected items to include in the Community Case, you will install your exhibit with guidance from our trained staff.

See our past Community Case exhibits and for more information on booking, please contact Malerie Dorman at mdorman@tampabayhistorycenter.org.

Upcoming Community Case exhibitions:

2014 Schedule:

2015 Schedule:

2016 Schedule:

2017 Schedule: