The Tampa Bay History Center announced an $11 million expansion to their downtown Tampa building, which will begin next month.
The project will add a new wing to the third floor, which will include new galleries and the first cartographic center in the southeastern United States.
The history center opened in 2009.
C.J. Roberts, President and CEO of the History Center, said the expansion will do more than educate visitors.
““We celebrate our role as this community’s storyteller,” he said. “Expanding our galleries allows us to tell an even bigger story about the state of Florida, early European exploration, maritime history, shipwrecks and piracy. It will make the History Center even more of a destination for visitors and locals.”
Last year, the History Center recorded its 100,000 visitor.
The new “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks” gallery at the history center will feature a 60-foot replica sailing vessel and focus on explorers who landed in “La Florida” more than 500 years ago.
The gallery is also part of an 8,500-square-foot expansion that will also include the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education, a partnership with the University of South Florida.
The map library and cartographic center will be home to some 6,000 maps dating back to the discovery of the New World, and will be the only research library of its kind in the Southeastern United States.
USF President Judy Genshaft said she was thrilled to be a part of revitalizing the downtown district.
“This is what research universities do,” she said. “We work together with the History Center and other partners like the History Center to make this an essence of our region.”
The expansion is set to be completed next fall.