The Henry Bradley Plant Museum has been in-house in Tampa Bay Hotel ever since 1933. The University of Tampa is also located in the building. Plant Hall, is another name of the building and is considered a National Landmark for the city of Tampa and the state of Florida. The artifacts and furnishings and a comprehensive self-guided tour help to immerse every visitor in the history and opulence of Tampa Bay Hotel.
The Tampa Bay Hotel was purchased by the city of Tampa in the early 1900s. This sale was completed shortly after the death of Mr. Henry Plant in 1899. Up until 1932, the building housed a hotel. It was not until 1933 that the Tampa Municipal Museum was set up in the lower level of the building in the south wing. This was done to help preserve the hotel's legacy.
The rest of the building was used to house The University of Tampa. In 1974, the Tampa Municipal Museum was changed to the Henry Bradley Plant Museum. The museum attempts to transport visitors into the beginning of tourism industry in the state through educational events and exhibits.
The Henry Bradley Plant was creating an empire that manufactured hotels, railroads, and steamships. Mr. Plant wanted his empire to be located in a palace, and this palace was finally selected to be in The Tampa Bay Hotel.
This hotel was built by Henry Plant, not investors. It cost him over $2.5 million dollars to build, and it cost him another half a million dollars to pay for furnishings. It took two years to build the hotel, expanded over 6 acres and was an almost ¼ mile long. There were over 500 rooms in the building, and it was the first building in the state was completely electric.
It was also one of the first buildings that were advertised as being 'fireproof'. The building was constructed with concrete and reinforced with cables and rails located between each floor. The hotel was also furnished in all of the modern luxuries of the time including:
A billiard room
Formal dining room
There are events that are held annually at the museum. The Red Cross and the War of 1898 event is held in May. A lot of people know that The Tampa Bay Hotel and the city of Tampa both played significant roles during the Spanish-Cuban-American War. However, many are not aware that it was during this conflict where the nurses from the American Red Cross offered services during the time of war.
From Memorial Day until Labor Day, the Henry Bradley Plant Museum is very proud to give free admission to any active duty member of the United States' Military and up to five of their family members. This is part of the program for Blue Star Museums. This is a program that is a collaboration of many other programs and museums around the country.
The Victorian Christmas Stroll occurs during the Holiday Season. Experience the grandeur and extravagance symbolic of Victorian Christmas. Enjoy this event from the 1st of December until the 23rd of December.
During this holiday event, the museum is transformed into a holiday wonderland as the Christmas trees are covered with over 40,000 lights and plenty of garlands.
The Henry Bradley Plant Museum is an internationally known historical landmark that has earned a unique distinction in American history. From its opulent beginnings to its present-day position as a historical centerpiece for Tampa, the museum provides tours and exhibitions that celebrate America's Gilded Age.
If you are interested in arts, you must visit Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa. There you will get to see exhibits which represents Roman, Greek and other forms of art work.
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