A new exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center showcasing centuries-old fossils, Tusks to Tails: A Fossil History of Florida, is open now through January 2022. The exhibit features dozens of fossils found throughout the state, some dating back more than 50 million years.
Visitors will get to see mammoth jaws, walrus tusks, a sloth hand and even a whale skeleton. Many do not know that Florida’s waters were once home to sharks that could grow up to 60 feet, and its land was home to giant rhinos. This newest exhibit unearths Florida’s fossil finds.
“This is our first natural history exhibit,” said Dr. Brad Massey, Tampa Bay History Center’s curator of public history. “It is a different look at Florida’s very early history, even before humans were here,” he added.
The History Center worked with the University of South Florida’s Digital Heritage & Humanities Collections to create topographical 3D maps for the exhibit to help illustrate the layers of time presented in the exhibit.
“This exhibit chronicles how the Florida coastline, and the animals that lived here, changed over the last 55 million years,” explained Dr. Massey.
The exhibit includes fossils on loan from the Florida Museum of Natural History as well as private collectors.
The Tampa Bay History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida’s history and culture. The Tampa Bay History Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Tampa Bay History Center includes the Touchton Map Library and Florida Center for Cartographic Education, the Witt Research Center and is home to the Columbia Cafe.
The Tampa Bay History Center is located along Tampa Riverwalk at 801 Water St. in downtown Tampa.
The Tampa Bay History Center continues to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health experts. Face masks are required for entry into the museum galleries. To minimize interaction with staff, advance tickets should be purchased online at www.tampabayhistorycenter.org/tickets. Details on its COVID-19 protocols can be found at www.tampabayhistorycenter.org/policiesandprocedures.
For more information, please call 228-0097.