A new map exhibit called From Outpost to Statehood: The Florida Territory is open at the Tampa Bay History Center in downtown Tampa. The exhibit explores Florida’s growth from a frontier outpost to the 27th U.S. state. The exhibit is open now through March 6, 2022.
Two hundred years ago, during the summer of 1821, Florida became a U.S. territory. Then, 24 years later, it officially became a state. The intervening years are highlighted in the new map exhibit. It is now open in the Tampa Bay History Center’s Touchton Map Library. The exhibit showcases Florida’s path from a frontier outpost to the 27th state in the Union through a series of maps from the J. Thomas and Lavinia Lee Witt Touchton Collection.
From Outpost to Statehood explores a number of themes, including the expansion of slavery, dislocation of American Indians and the overall expansion of the nation. The maps are from an era that dramatically impacted the future of not just the state of Florida, but the nation as a whole.
“While this period is not really covered in textbooks, many of the events that occurred in Florida during the Territorial years shaped American history in the 19th century,” explained Rodney Kite-Powell, director of the Touchton Map Library.
“The events that unfolded during that time—the Second Seminole War in particular—foreshadowed many important national events that followed, including the Civil War, westward expansion and the Indian Wars,” added Kite-Powell.
The exhibit includes the first globe to show the new boundaries outlined in the Adams-Onis Treaty, which officially ceded Florida to the U.S. from Spain. It also includes the only known copy of an 1838 map of Fort Brooke during the height of the Second Seminole War, the longest and most expensive of the United States Indian Wars.
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. It is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Tampa Bay History Center is home to the Columbia Cafe. The Tampa Bay History Center’s hands-on, interactive exhibits and theaters provide an entertaining and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
The Tampa Bay History Center is located at 801 Water St. in downtown Tampa. For more information, visit tampabayhistorycenter.org or call 228-0097.