Tampa Bay History Center is expanding

The Tampa Bay History Center is expanding. 

The center will add an entire floor to the top of the building, adding a new interactive Pirate Exhibit ,"Treasure Seekers," with a life-size 60-foot pirate ship in what's become an increasingly prime location next to Amalie Arena.

"It's been a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck," says History Center CEO CJ Roberts. "We have great stories to tell and we've always enjoyed great support in the community."


They're now getting added support from USF president Judy Genshaft. USF will be part of a new research center here, adding to the University's growing downtown footprint which also includes the CAMELS Center and a new medical school under construction. It's all next to a major downtown makeover headed by Lightning owner Jeff Vinick. "Mr. Vinick is awesome and there just can't be a better partner to be with. We couldn't be more thrilled," says Genshaft.


Vistitors will also be thrilled by treasure chests and artifacts from shipwrecks including a ship's bell from 1622 recovered from the Dry Tortugas. The new research center will be one of the largest in the country for cartology, the study of maps.

"It's probably the largest collection of Florida maps in one place in the world," says Tom Touchton whose massive personal collection of maps will be available along with others from USF.

Construction will begin in January. They plan to stay open during construction, but they may have to move some exhibits around.