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“Gilded Age Splendor”

Henry B. Plant Museum
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Tampa History Cruise
Ranked #14 of 198 things to do in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Once the Tampa Bay Hotel, this museum focuses on the hotel's role in the Spanish-American War.
Tampa, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Gilded Age Splendor”
Reviewed October 5, 2012

I am embarrassed to say I attended UT for two semesters and didn’t manage to get to this museum until after I’d left their enrollment. Plant Hall, the former Tampa Bay Hotel, is an amazing building and its iconic minarets frequently featured in photos of the Tampa skyline. The museum itself is housed in just part of this huge structure. The rest of the structure has been converted into offices and administrative space for the university, though many architectural and decorative details remain and I recommend taking an unobtrusive stroll through the rest of the building before you leave.

The museum itself showcases a wealth of furniture, objects and photographs from the Tampa Bay Hotel’s brief but golden heyday. I am a gizmo geek so I adored the little audiowands provided – speakers at one end and a keypad to “dial up” the audiotour stops. I thought the design and layout of the audiotour stops was very well thought out. The audiowands feature flat speakers that you simply hold to your ear and if the surrounding room was a bit noisy, it could be hard to hear. But no problem since the audiotour was broken into very reasonable soundbites, with some rooms having 3-4 separate bits of narration. This made it easy to relisten to just the bit you missed or wanted to hear again.

I really appreciated the breadth of information provided. Lots of details not only about hotels but about the kinds of people that visited, what train travel was like in those days, major events that happened at the hotel and a lot of information I didn’t know about the importance of Tampa and the hotel as a pre-Cuba staging grounds for the Spanish-American War. My mom and I dallied for a solid hour and a half and enjoyed this museum greatly. Good value for $10 and a must-do for anyone interested in Tampa local history or details of the Gilded Age.

Visited February 2012
1 Thank Andrea B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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586 reviews from our community

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English first
Tampa, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“History at Plant Museum”
Reviewed September 20, 2012

This piece of history is absolutely beautiful just to imagine life back then at this location it's amazing. wish there was more to see on the tour.

Visited December 2011
Thank Pam H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Class Trip”
Reviewed September 6, 2012

We went as a class trip, and the docent was very patient and asnwered all of the students' questions. Two people who role played a Victorian couple, and illustrated what type of clothes and the behaviors they would have exhibited back in those times. They made it meaningful to the students and did so in a comedic way. t would be helpful if the administration let the chaperones know where to park beforehand though. All in all, a nice day trip! Thank you!

Visited May 2012
Thank JennieBeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Valrico, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great historic history of the TB area”
Reviewed September 3, 2012

A great place to see with a lot of history. I love the old craftsmanship of the building. Older children may like it more then the younger set. The adults should find it very enlightening. Check out the college area and river.

Visited November 2011
Thank T J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Nice gem!”
Reviewed August 30, 2012

This makes history quite real. You can look at the pictures in the museum and then go outside and stand in exactly the same places in the building and on the grounds.

Visited May 2012
Thank Deletha H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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