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18 Tampa Bay museums to visit for free on Museum Day

The annual event is hosted by Smithsonian magazine.
Photo: Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg.

Saturday is Museum Day around the country, and there are 18 museums in the Tampa Bay area that are offering free admission.

The annual holiday is hosted by Smithsonian magazine as a “celebration of boundless curiosity,” according to the publication’s website.

To get in free for Museum Day, you’ll have to search for participating museums and download a ticket from the Smithsonian’s website.

Tampa Bay museums participating in Museum Day

1885 Train Depot Museum, 70 Russell St., Brooksville

The structure is the original one built in 1885 and showcases train history and Hernando County history with artifacts from early 1800s settlers and the ghost town of Centralia.

More here.

Countryman Family One Room Schoolhouse Museum, 66 Russell St., Brooksville

The schoolhouse is representative of the first school built in the 1850s by Frederick Lykes. The interactive museum is one of three owned by the Hernando Historical Museum Association.

More here.

Cracker Country, 4800 Hwy 301 N, Tampa

Tampa’s only living history museum has 13 original buildings built between 1870 and 1912. You’ll get a taste of authentic Florida cracker life by exploring the blacksmith shop, a sugar cane mill, a one-room schoolhouse, a smoke shed, a train depot, a general store and more.

More here.

Explorations V Children’s Museum, 109 N Kentucky Ave, Lakeland

Three floors of interactive exhibits including a sound studio, a mini Publix store, a TV news station, first responders play area and more.

More here.

Florida CraftArt, 501 Central Ave, St. Petersburg

The statewide non-profit organization has a gallery space that showcases fine art and crafts from Florida artists.

More here.

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N Ashley Drive, Tampa

Features photographic art from national and international artists. The Beyond the Lens exhibit showcases work from renowned National Geographic photographer Bruce Dale.

More here.

Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa

Now has a collection of porcelains, rare Faberge pieces and other decorative arts from the 19th century. The museum used to be the Tampa Bay Hotel built in 1891 and is now on the University of Tampa campus.

More here.

Imagine Museum, 1901 Central Ave, St. Petersburg

Showcases contemporary American studio glass with more than 500 pieces from more than 55 artists over 55 years. A current exhibition features Paul Stankard’s botanical glass worlds.

More here.

Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 E Klosterman Rd, Tarpon Springs

The museum collects more than 6,000 pieces of 20th and 21st century art and is situated on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College.

More here.

May-Stringer House Museum, 601 Museum Ct., Brooksville

The historic house was built in the mid-19th century and now has 14 rooms in four stories. The exhibit rooms have a Victorian look with a themed military room, a 1880s doctor’s office and a 1900s communications room.

More here.

Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr NE, St. Petersburg

One of the newest exhibits, This Is Not a Selfie, explores the history of self-portraiture. The MFA’s permanent collection includes thousands of pieces of art from early centuries and Native American art to decorative arts and ceramics.

More here.

Palm Harbor Museum, 2043 Curlew Rd, Palm Harbor

Showcases history and heritage of Palm Harbor. A new exhibit features portraits from the Civil War in Florida.

More here.

Polk Museum of Art, 800 E Palmetto St, Lakeland

The museum at Florida Southern college has collections of modern and contemporary art, African art, Asian art, ancient American arts and decorative arts.

More here.

South Florida Museum, 201 10th St W, Bradenton

The museum includes the Bishop Planetarium and the Parker Manatee Aquarium and is chock full of Florida’s earliest fossils, archeological materials from ancient cultures and local history exhibitions.

More here.

Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St, Tampa

Includes three floors of Tampa Bay history including exhibits on Florida’s first people, Cigar City in Ybor and the pirate Jack Rackam. Temporary exhibits include ones on the history of bird conservation and studies and another on nautical charts of Florida.

More here.

Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa

Features a new temporary exhibit from the Vinik Family Foundation called Season of Love and ongoing exhibits with pieces from the classical world, decorative arts, paper art, 20th century photography and multimedia installations. (NOTE: The museum will have free admission on Sept. 23 because the museum will be closed on Sept. 22 for a city event)

More here.

The Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 5th St S, St. Petersburg

The museum is one of the largest Holocaust museums in the country and showcases archives of photographs, historic artifacts and a research facility for educators. The newest temporary piece is the screening of the virtual reality film The Last Goodbye from the USC Shoah Foundation.

More here.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

Established in 1927 by John and Mable Ringling of circus fame, The Ringling has a museum of art, a circus museum, acres of gardens, the historic Asolo Theater and the Ca’D’Zan Ringling mansion.

More here.

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