little girl writes to writing-books at excursion in historical museum near exhibits of ancient relics in glass cases

Museum Day Returns this September

The annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.


Museum Day is a one-day event in which participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. Participants are allowed to download one ticket per email address. The ticket provides free general admission on Saturday, September 17, 2022, for two people.

Since we first created this post, numerous museums have been added to the list. There are now a whopping 68 museums in the state of Florida slated to take part in the event. Several of those are in Tampa Bay:

Cracker Country

Location: 4800 Highway 301 N., Tampa

Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cracker Country, located at the Florida State Fairgrounds, is Tampa’s only living history museum. Explore thirteen structures built between 1870-1912 that were relocated from around the state of Florida, restored and furnished to represent various aspects of home life, commerce and transportation as it was in many rural communities just before the turn of the 20th century.

Tampa Bay History Center

Location: 801 Water Street, Tampa

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The 60,000-quare-foot Tampa Bay History Center offers three floors of interactive exhibits that tell the story of 12,000 years of Florida’s history. While you are there, be sure to check out the History Center’s “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates and Shipwrecks” gallery, as well as the new “Cuban Pathways” and “Kitschy Cartography” exhibits.

Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art

Location: 600 E. Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Leepa-Rattner is a modern and contemporary art museum with a collection of more than 6,000 works of 20th and 21st century art, including notable artists like Picasso, Chagall and Léger. The nucleus of the museum is a permanent collection of works by Abraham Rattner, his second wife Esther Gentle and son Allen Leepa. Museum Day festivities include art-making activities, docent-led tours and more.

Henry B. Plant Museum

Location: 401 W. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Henry B. Plant’s opulent hotel on the banks of the Hillsborough River once played host to guests like Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth. Now, it has been transformed into a museum that allows visitors to experience the grandeur of the hotel that opened in 1891 and is now listed on the registry of National Historic Landmarks. Be sure to visit the museum store, which features an enchanting collection of antique reproductions and accessories, jewelry, books, paper dolls, and many other unique and romantic treasures.

Ybor City Museum State Park

Location: 1818 E. Ninth Ave., Tampa

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Museum of Fine Arts St. Pete

Location: 255 Beach Dr NE, St. Pete

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

This museum’s collection covers 5,000 years of civilization in thousands of objects extending from antiquity to present. The MFA is proud to have within its walls the only comprehensive art collection of its kind on Florida’s west coast. Highlights include masterpieces from Monet, O’Keeffe, De Kooning, Wiley, and others, a sculpture garden, and one of Florida’s most respected photography collections.

Imagine Museum

Location: 1901 Central Ave, St. Pete

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Imagine Museum features a spectacular collection of contemporary glass art from around the world. Experience the evolution of the studio glass art movement of artists who have turned it into contemporary masterpieces of color, motion, and light.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Location: 201 10th St W, Bradenton

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Bishop interprets the region from the Pleistocene to the present and is the largest natural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Museums worth the drive

If you are up for a road trip, there are several participating museums within just a few hours’ drive of Tampa Bay.

In the quaint Orlando suburb of Winter Park, the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens is a small, yet intriguing stop for art lovers. The museum houses works by Czech artist Albin Polasek, including 200 pieces of art and his self-designed home, studio and three-acre sculpture garden with stunning views of Lake Osceola.

In Lakeland, you’ll find an impressive community museum that is free every day of the year. The Polk Museum of Art invites visitors of all ages and interest levels to explore, learn, and find something in the world of art to appreciate. Through October 2022 enjoy a visiting exhibit by celebrated sculptor Rodin. Devotees of the lovely “Painted Ladies” of the Victorian era will enjoy a visit to the May-Stringer House Museum. This seven-gable, 14 -room, three-story Victorian Era home originally built in 1856 is perched on top of a hill overlooking the City of Brooksville and has over 11,000 artifacts on display.

A bit further afield, the American Space Museum in Titusville offers a glimpse into space history. Visit the Women Making Space History Gallery along with the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle and Cape Canaveral Galleries. Take part in a scavenger hunt and speak with docents who worked in the space program.

Click here to find a complete list of Florida museums participating in Museum Day and to download your free tickets.


By Karen Ring

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