The 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, now a National Historic Landmark, is home to The University of Tampa and the Henry B. Plant Museum. During the 1880s, Henry Bradley Plant was building an empire of railroads, steamships and hotels. He wanted that empire to have a palace and that palace was the Tampa Bay Hotel – now referred to as Florida’s “first Magic Kingdom.”
Today, the Henry B. Plant Museum, located in the south wing of the original Tampa Bay Hotel, features original opulent furnishings and artifacts from the hotel collected by Mr. and Mrs. Plant on several buying trips to Europe and the Orient. The museum transports you through educational exhibits and events to the late Victorian period, the beginning of Florida’s tourist industry, and the early years of the City of Tampa. Learn the significance of the hotel during the early stages of the Spanish American War and how Tampa was thrust into the world arena in the summer of 1898.
Henry B. Plant Museum is located at 401 W. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, Fl 33616. For general information, please call (813) 254-1891.
Book a Field Trip
Contact Heather Brown, Curator of Education, for dates and availability at (813) 258-7304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Group Tours
Contact Lindsay Huban, Museum Relations Coordinator, for dates and availability at (813) 258-7302 or email@example.com.
Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition
The Gasparilla invasion takes over the Henry B. Plant Museum! Join us for an exhibit on the rich history of Tampa’s oldest and most fun-loving community festival. The new exhibit, Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition explores Tampa’s premier party, attended by a motley crew of the famous and infamous, the beautiful people and bad dudes. Learn more about the early Gasparilla parades and enjoy vintage photographs from 1904 to the present. Also featured this year is a newly conserved 1926 Gasparilla Queen’s gown created by famed African American fashion designer Ann Cone Lowe, and worn by Katherine Broaderus. Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition will run from January 13th to February 26th, 2017 and is underwritten by Lauren C. Stallings and C. Norman Stallings, Jr. and the Henry B. Plant Museum Society.
In addition to early memorabilia and original gowns worn by former Gasparilla royalty, visitors can enjoy film coverage on the celebration. "Memories of Gasparilla Festivals" includes scenes from the 1920s and reveals pirate capers and images of early parades. This film is from the private collection of the Howell family. It is narrated by John Boushall, III; H.L. Culbreath, Jr.; L.G. "Ted" Delavergne, Jr.; Jerry E. Fogarty; George B. Howell, III; Fred R. Martin, III; Mary Alsbrook Smith and Frances Thomas Toole. Film footage from Joseph V. Reineman describing the life of a pirate on Invasion Day will also be shown continuously.
Over the years, the original Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla has been joined by dozens of new krewes (social clubs), all of which contribute to the general merriment and community pride of the occasion.
Gasparilla: Tall Tales and Scandalous Stories
To kick-off the new exhibit, the public is invited to an evening of Gasparilla: Tall Tales & Scandalous Stories on Friday, January 13th from 6:45-7:45 in the Music Room at The University of Tampa. Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Parade Committee Past Chairmen Fred Dobbins, Calvin Hayes, Ham Moshell and Jim VonThron will dazzle you with behind the scenes parade stories! This event is free. Seating is limited. For information call 813-258-7302.
The Henry Plant Museum interprets the turn-of-the-century Tampa Bay Hotel and the lifestyles of America’s Gilded Age. Critical to the success of this mission is the restoration and preservation of this National Historic Landmark, an opulent 1891 railroad resort, and the artifacts significant to its history, and the life and work of Henry Bradley Plant. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays and select other dates. Admission is $10 per adult, $7 for seniors (65 yrs.), $7 for students and $5 for children 4–12 years.