Permanent Galleries

Three Floors of History

From the infamous pirate Jack Rackam, to the hard-charging Teddy Roosevelt, three floors of exhibits explore the stories and personalities from Florida’s past.

2nd Level

1) Florida's First People

Native groups like the Tocobaga and Timucua lived along Florida’s west coast for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. Learn about the tools and technologies used by Florida’s first people.

2) Winds of Change Theater

What happens when European explorers clash with the “New World?” Find out in the Winds of Change, a 15 minute animated feature.

3) European Exploration
4) Charles L. Knight Gallery

Featuring ceremonial garb, tools and clothing, the Knight Collection is among the largest assemblage of Florida Seminole craftwork, featuring artifacts dating to the early 20th century.

5) Coacoochee's Story Theater

Hear the story of the Second Seminole War – one of the longest military conflicts in American history – from two sides: Lieutenant John Sprague stationed in Tampa with the 8th Infantry, and Coacoochee or “Wild Cat,” a young Seminole leader.

6) Cigar City

Beginning in the 1880s, thousands of immigrant cigar workers from Cuba, Spain and Italy will proudly earn Tampa the name “The Cigar City.” Hear their stories in the Cigar City gallery.

3rd Level

1) Your Tampa Bay
Your Tampa Bay allows visitors to take a virtual tour of significant landmarks and view historic photographs around the Tampa Bay region via an interactive map.
2) Tampa Bay Timeline
Tampa Bay Timeline features a series of large panels with compelling photographs, renderings and artifacts covering the past 500 years of history within our region.
3) Cowmen & Crackers
Cowmen & Crackers showcases Florida’s cattle ranching history, putting viewers in the middle of an actual cattle drive.
4) A Place of Your Own
A Place of Your Own provides historical background about the region in kid-friendly and interactive ways. Agriculture/Grove Stand features Floridiana, a restored 1908 REO automobile. Natural Resources allows you to test your knowledge of the region’s natural resources and supporting industries. Port City tells the story of Tampa’s industrial ports with a theater presentation in a cargo container.
5) Year Round Play
Year Round Play highlights the area’s recreational and social activities, including a sports trivia board.
6) Witness to Change
Witness to Change examines significant events that were catalysts for change in the Tampa Bay region, focusing on civil rights, urban development and the natural environment.
7) A Land Remembered
A Land Remembered, inspired by Patrick Smith’s novel by the same name, includes a replica pioneer cabin, original artifacts and a hands-on Discovery Center.
8) War Stories

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.

9) Annis Children's Gallery
The June and Mike Annis Family Children’s Gallery exhibits student artwork from schools and youth programs throughout Hillsborough County.

4th Level

1) Wayne Thomas Gallery

See what’s on exhibit this month in the Wayne Thomas Gallery. Exhibits change approximately every four months.

2) Treasure Seekers

Sail across unknown seas with  European explorers, ply the Florida coast alongside pirates and privateers, and dive to the ocean floor in search of long-lost fortunes in the all-new Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates and Shipwrecks gallery.

3) Touchton Map Library

The Touchton Map Library and Florida Center for Cartographic Education is home to more than 8,000 maps, charts and other documents dating back more than 500 years from the early European exploration of North America through the early 21st century.

4) Witt Research Center

Located on the fourth floor of the History Center, the Currie B. and Lavinia Sparkman-Witt Research Center is open to the general public by appointment only.

Click here to learn more!

5) The Pirate's Fate Theater

During the Pirate’s Fate movie guests choose their adventure aboard a stolen sloop in this 8-minute lively presentation.

6) Dave's Crow's Nest

Touchton Map Library

The only cartographic center in the southeastern United States, the Touchton Map Library is home to more than 8,000 original maps, charts and other documents dating back to the discovery of the New World. The Map Library’s partnership with USF provides access to thousands of maps housed at USF Libraries.