How to get free tickets to Tampa Bay History Center

Outdoor temps got you feeling and looking a bit wilted? You’re not alone. It’s that time of year when we’re all looking for ways to escape the summer heat and humidity.

In Florida, that means heading indoors for family fun and renewing friendships while seeing something new and perhaps even learning a little bit while school’s out for the summer. (Thank you Willis Haviland Carrier and Frederick McKinley Jones, the inventors of modern-air conditioning.)

Among our top choices? Head to a local museum or theater and try to become more literate and cultured than you were last week. But don’t go alone. Take the grands along! Grandma and grandpa as well as the mini-grands AKA your children, your progeny, your descendants. Or a couple of friends or neighbors. You’ll all learn something new and talk to each other about it for bonding conversations that improve relationships and make lasting memories to cherish for years to come.

Number one on our list at the moment? Visit or re-visit the Tampa Bay History Center in downtown Tampa to see new exhibits, some temporary, some permanent. 

Be sure to check out Travails and Triumphs, a new permanent exhibit with 100 artifacts that tell the history of people of African descent whose families have lived and labored in the Tampa Bay Area for over 500 years. Read more about the exhibit in this previous 83 Degrees story by reporter Phil Morgan.

“We wanted to expand our African American history story,” History Center President C.J. Roberts told reporter Paul Guzzo of the Tampa Bay Times in a recent story. “Those stories had been woven through our other exhibits, but they were never really presented in a way where you could see the whole story in a comprehensive way.”

The exhibit was researched by Fred Hearns, the History Center’s Curator of Black History who grew up in Tampa and is known as a leading scholar on all things related to the history of Blacks in America.

While you’re there, be sure to stop by the Columbia Cafe for libations and a taste of Spanish cuisine. Who can resist a soup and/or salad and/or sandwich combo, for example? We especially love Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad and a pressed Cuban sandwich, served with plantain chips. And maybe share the Black Bean Cakes and/or the Calamares Fritos “A La Romana?” And a pitcher of sangria?

Oh, my! We’re getting a little hungry and ahead of ourselves. 

Before you go, submit your email address for a chance to win free tickets (maximum 2) thanks to an ongoing media partnership between 83 Degrees and the Tampa Bay History Center.

Simply follow this link to enter: ticket giveaway. We hope you'll enjoy your visit!

Editor's note: This story and others about history are made possible by underwriting partner support from the Tampa Bay History Center, which is partnering with 83 Degrees Media to help tell the stories of the history of all people in the West Central Florida region. Read additional stories tagged History
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Read more articles by Diane Egner.

Diane Egner is a community leader and award-winning journalist with more than four decades of experience reporting and writing about the Tampa Bay Area of Florida. She serves on the boards of the University of South Florida Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications Advisory Council, The Institute for Research in Art (Graphicstudio, the Contemporary Art Museum, and USF’s Public Art Program) Community Advisory Council, Sing Out and Read, and StageWorks Theatre Advisory Council. She also is a member of Leadership Florida and the Athena Society. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism, she won the top statewide award for editorial writing from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors while at The Tampa Tribune and received special recognition by the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists for creative work as Content Director at WUSF Public Media. Past accomplishments and community service include leadership positions with Tampa Tiger Bay Club, USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy (WLP), Alpha House of Tampa Bay, Awesome Tampa Bay, Florida Kinship Center, AIA Tampa Bay, Powerstories, Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Diane and her husband, Sandy Rief, live in Tampa.