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St. Petersburg Museum of History expanding ahead of 100th anniversary

The expansions aims to add 8,000-square-feet of space, a new exhibit gallery, a visitor's center and a roof-top terrace.
Credit: St. Petersburg Museum of History

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Almost 100 years since its creation in 1920, the St. Petersburg Museum of History announced its expanding.

The museum is the third-oldest in the state and aims to be a "cultural and historical tourism anchor for the state of Florida."

Expansion plans including adding 8,000-square-feet of space, a new exhibit gallery, a visitor's center and a roof-top terrace overlooking the bay.

“We have the opportunity to create a premier museum that not only shares the history of the Sunshine City but also the unique history of the entire state right here in St. Petersburg,” Executive Director Rui Farias said in a release. “Our goal is to create a visitor experience that will educate, entertain and leave our guests wanting to come back for more.”

The museum said the goal is to raise $7 million from public and private donors to create a new "world-class history museum in the Sunshine City." Farias said the museum already got a $1 million commitment from the City of St. Petersburg.

Phase I of the project is currently underway and includes adding more fire sprinklers to the existing building and preserving the original terrazzo floor that was put in in the early 1950s. The flooring was discovered during renovations under a carpet and years of glue.

Phase II is set to begin in October and includes the 8,000-square-foot two-story addition next to the Flight One Gallery.

The ground level will have a welcome center, a museum gift shop and a conference room. The second level will be the 4,000-square-foot main gallery showing both Florida and U.S. history.

The second phase also includes constructing The Flight Deck, a rooftop terrace as a venue for the museum, private and community events.

The third phase of the expansion includes renovating staff offices and museum archives and collections areas on the second floor.

“I am excited about the reimagined St. Petersburg Museum of History, Florida’s third oldest museum,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a release. “The design of the new Museum of History fits in well with our new St. Pete Pier District. I hope everyone in St. Pete will join me in supporting the museum’s goal to reach new heights and become one of America’s finest history museums.”

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