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Tampa Bay History Center

Our mission, vision, and values.

Mission: Discovering, preserving, and learning from our region’s past to inform our common future.

Vision: An enhanced appreciation of Florida’s history.

Values: Integrity, innovation, and professionalism in all that we do.

  • Accessibility for all
  • Collaboration with other organizations, groups, and individuals
  • Excellence in our service to the public
  • Inclusion of diverse individuals participating in all aspects of our work
  • Leadership in history education
  • Respect for our diverse audiences
  • Scholarship as the foundation of our exhibitions and programs
  • Stewardship of public resources
  • Sustainable management of our collection, physical, environmental, and financial assets

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About the museum

Founded in 1989 by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, the History Center opened its new, 60,000 square-foot facility on Tampa’s Riverwalk in 2009. Accredited in 2015 by the American Alliance of Museums and a Smithsonian Affiliate museum since 2012, the History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition galleries focusing on 12,000 years of Florida’s history.

Explore the vibrant galleries.

Beginning with a look at Florida’s first peoples, who inhabited the peninsula some 10,000 years ago, and the arrival of European explorers in the 1500s, to Tampa Bay’s modern role as a port city, the industrial capital of west central Florida and a draw for tourists and visitors the world over, the History Center tells the story of Tampa Bay’s and Florida’s history, heritage and culture.

The History Center is also home to the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education. The only cartographic research center of its kind in the state, the TML/FCCE houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Florida cartography in the world, with holdings spanning five centuries.

The TML/FCCE features a regular schedule of changing exhibitions, and is open by appointment to researchers and students.

Visitors to the History Center can dine in the Columbia Cafe, a branch of the world-famous Columbia Restaurant, featuring signature Spanish-Cuban cuisine, a staple of Tampa’s iconic immigrant community of Ybor City. The History Center also includes a Museum Store, classrooms, temporary exhibition galleries and event rental spaces.

War Stories focuses on participants or those serving on the home front in the wars that have touched our state and region since the 1830s.
Tampa Bay History Center galleries