An important part of parenting is passing down historical memory and cultural heritage to our children. Through the public library, your family can enjoy timely and relevant cultural events and classes that showcase our community’s diversity.
At your local branch, books, eBooks, DVDs, streaming content and online classes can help you and your family discover more about our community’s history and culture.
Hillsborough County’s museums and parks also offer families the opportunity to share cultural experiences, learn about the past and deepen their appreciation of our rich community heritage.
Here are eight suggestions of places to go. Also, check out our list of art and history books available from the library that parents can share with their children before or after they visit.
Henry B. Plant Museum: Located on the University of Tampa campus, the museum pays homage to the days when the school was a hotel that catered to America’s wealthy and famous. One exhibit commemorates the hotel’s role during the time that Tampa served as a military staging ground for the Spanish-American War.
Tampa Museum of Art: Nestled on the east bank of the Hillsborough River across from the University of Tampa, our city’s premier public gallery features works by nationally and internationally renowned painters, photographers, sculptors and multimedia creators as well as local artists. There are also permanent exhibits of art and artifacts from ancient civilizations, including an Egyptian sarcophagus.
Tampa Bay History Center: Near Amalie Arena lies the largest history museum in Tampa. Its three floors house exhibitions that recount different parts of our community’s story. One permanent exhibit narrates an early encounter between Spaniards and the Tocobaga people of Tampa Bay, while another uses animatronics and film to relate the events of the Second Seminole War.
Fort Foster Interpretive Center: In 1836, the U.S. Army constructed Fort Foster, a small garrison on the Hillsborough River. Today, part of Hillsborough River State Park is located on the site of the old fort. The park features a small museum dedicated to the garrison and to the war between the Seminoles and the United States military. The museum includes artifacts left by the Seminoles, American soldiers and settlers.
Veterans Memorial Park: Off U.S. 301 sits a Hillsborough County park that commemorates those who served in America’s armed forces. Tree-lined paths wind through a plaza of statues, plaques, flags and monuments that honor the service and sacrifice of those in uniform.
Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center: In Mann-Wagon Memorial Park is a small museum that preserves and interprets the legacy of a Tampa neighborhood that was once a local tourist hub. The museum highlights the contributions of African Americans from the area and also includes natural history exhibits, including shells, arrowheads, fossils, minerals and a Lepidoptera collection.
Ybor City Museum: The museum is a Florida state park housed in the historic Ferlita Bakery building. Its exhibits tell the history of a neighborhood founded in the 1880s as a multi-ethnic and multi-racial immigrant enclave.
Parque Amigos de José Martí: Within easy walking distance of the Ybor City Museum, this small park commemorates the site of a boarding house that sheltered poet and Cuban revolutionary José Martí 130 years ago. The boarding house was owned by Paulina Pedroso, an Afro-Cuban immigrant who gave safe haven to Martí, a Cuban revolutionary and one of the most beloved poets of the Spanish language. A statue of Martí, Cuba’s tragic hero, presides over the grounds.
Pair your visit with one of the titles on this book list: bit.ly/HCPLC-CommunityCulture
DISCOVERY PASS IS BACK!
The Library’s Discovery Pass program gives you FREE admission or tour pass to select local museums and attractions, and it is now available through a new, easier-to-use digital system accessible through your smart phone, tablet, computer, or by visiting your local library and using one of the public computers to reserve your pass. HCPLC.org/services/Discovery Pass.
Photo provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library | Originally published in July 2022