St. Petersburg, Florida is known to visitors for its many attributes. One thing that many people thinking of visiting might not associate with the Sunshine City is its plethora of museums. Covering a wide variety of different themes, the museums of St. Petersburg offer a little something for everyone.
A permanent exhibit of glass artist Dale Chihuly’s work, the Chihuly Collection is a part of the Morean Arts Center. Visitors are greeted by a 20 foot sculpture and can see other pieces designed especially for the collection.
Location: 720 Central Avenue
Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum
Named after the man who created Black History Month, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is located in the former offices of the Jordon Park public housing development. Located in what was the Black part of St. Petersburg during segregation, the Woodson has rotating art exhibits. The museum is also home to the Tampa Bay Collard Greens Festival and a stunning Black Lives Matters street mural. A much larger new Woodson museum, the first to be newly constructed in Florida to honor African American history and culture, is scheduled to be built on 5 acres not far from the current location.
Location: 2240 9th Avenue South
The Florida Holocaust Museum
One of the largest holocaust museums in the United States, the Florida Holocaust Museum works to bring awards to the Holocaust and human rights. Its permanent exhibit has artifacts, a self-guided audio tour and a real box car used to take victims to concentration camps. Rotating temporary exhibits cover a variety of topics including artwork, personal collections, ands stories of those who survived.
Location: 55 5th Street South
Great Explorations Children’s Museum
Located next to Sunken Gardens, this children’s museum provides hands-on learning experiences. Designated as autism friendly by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, Great Explorations is over 20,000 square feet and has activities and exhibits designed to foster creative through play.
Location: 1925 4th Street North
Imagine Museum – Florida Museum of Glass Art
A collection of contemporary glass art, Image Museum also explores where glass comes from and the Studio Glass Movement. in addition to their exhibits, they also offer guided tours on various subjects. And the tours are free with your price of admission.
Location: 1901 Central Avenue
The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art
Highlighting Native Americans and other inhabitants of the United States west, the James Museum is home to over 400 pieces of art and sculptures. The museum’s permanent exhibits are the early west, native life, native artists, Native American jewelry, the frontier, wildlife, and the new west. There are also rotating exhibitions which have included works by Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol, photographs from gay rodeos, and animal art.
Location: 150 Central Avenue
Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement
Ready to visit the only museums in the world that’s exclusively about the American Arts and Crafts movement? Then you’ve come to the right place! The newest of the museums of St. Petersburg, this 5-story, 137,000 square foot building captures the movement that was from around 1890 to the 1930s. With over 2,000 pieces of furniture, metalwork, photos, lighting, and textiles, it offers a full representation of this art form.
Location: 355 4th Avenue North
Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg
Located near the St. Pete Pier, the Museum of Fine Arts is the largest comprehensive art collection in the state. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to really explore. There are over 18,000 pieces that range from the time of antiquity to modern times. There’s works by Monet and Georgia O’Keeffe. Pieces from the Asian, African and Native American genres. And everything from nudes to decorative arts to furniture. Don’t worry though – there’s plenty of benches throughout too if you need to seat to absorb the beauty around you. Another plus? If you’re there on certain days you can enjoy a treat from the cafe located inside.
Location: 255 Beach Drive, NE
St. Petersburg Museum of History
Just around the corner from the Museum of Fine Arts is the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The oldest museum in St. Petersburg, the history museum follows the birth of commercial aviation (which happened across the street at the current St. Pete Pier) along with a gallery of oddities and artifacts from the history of the city. There’s also Little Cooperstown which holds the Guinness World Record or the larges collection of baseballs. One lacking part of the museum, that hopefully will be resolved if their planned expansion takes place, is there’s minimal information about segregation and Black history in St. Petersburg. It seems especially glaring once you realize the beach that was first desegregated in the city is located right behind the museum.
Location: 335 2nd Avenue NE
Salvador Dali Museum
Describing the Salvador Dali Museum (also known as The Dali) seems like a lesson in futility. How can you describe the largest collection of this surrealist artist that’s located outside of his home country of Spain. First let’s say that Dali never visited St. Petersburg, Florida. How this collection made it here is an interesting story; his widow is said to have been excited to learn the original Dali works collected by a couple in Ohio were headed to St. Petersburg. But she assumed it was the St. Petersburg in her home country of Russia. The story kind fits with how perplexed you may feel looking at the works in the museum. From his masterworks to his drawings from childhood to his sculptures, the works are thought provoking and maybe a little confusing at times. But always fantastic. Don’t forget to download the museum’s app to get the audio tour.
And then grab a bite to eat at Café Gala in the atrium afterwards for a taste of Spanish inspired foods and drinks.
Location: One Dali Boulevard
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