Make us your home page
Instagram

History exhibit puts Florida on the map

Ponce de Leon gets most of the credit for discovering Florida but he actually had lots of company in the 16th century.

"Charting the Land of Flowers: 500 Years of Florida Maps," which opens Saturday at the Tampa Bay History Center, takes us back to that time when there was no certainty about this new world being explored but unquenchable curiosity about its possibilities.

The earliest maps (one is from 1493) are mostly macro representations and show a lot of creative license in defining the contours and topography of the area (mountains in Florida?). But after the mappers get those things right, the show offers more micro looks at the state and what we now call the Tampa Bay area. The 20th century brings maps for tourists from AAA and for land buyers from developers as Florida opens up to a bigger population. The 21st century is represented by NASA photography from space.

Most of the 150 maps are originals, not facsimiles, on loan from museums, libraries and private collectors here and in Europe. It's one of the largest and broadest groups of Florida maps ever assembled and it's beautiful. The rare antiquarian maps are hand-drawn in pen and ink or engravings that are usually hand colored and feature elaborate illustrations. A map from 1774, printed by Paul Revere, is the only known copy and has never been exhibited publicly. The show also has the first known maps of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Ybor City. And there is abundant wall text explaining the art and science of cartography.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at lbennett@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8293.

If You Go

Charting the Land of Flowers: 500 Years of Florida Maps

The exhibit opens at the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa, on Saturday and continues through Feb. 16. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $12.95 adults, $10.95 seniors, college students and youths 13 to 17, and $7.95 kids 4 through 12. In addition, the history center offers two floors of interactive permanent exhibits, the Columbia Cafe and a great view of the Hillsborough River.

History exhibit puts Florida on the map 09/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 6:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando Events for May 26-June 1

    Events

    Events

    26 Friday

    Free Zika training: Presented by the Hernando Computer Club, the training is for those who wish to assist in the effort to find a cure for the Zika virus. Club members are volunteers for World Community Grid and are donating their devices' spare computing power to …

  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 24

    Events

    Damien Escobar: The acclaimed hip-hop violinist who has played for presidents tours in support of the album Boundless. 7:30 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35-$45. (727) 791-7400.

    HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 03:  Recording artist Damien Escobar performs onstage during the BET Presents Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at Lakewood Church on February 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BET)
  3. The new 'Baywatch' movie is basically about hot people in swimsuits

    Movies

    Baywatch is a running gag in slow motion, a thong-in-cheek TV retread swapping wholesome jiggles for dirty giggles. There are places for such humor but beaches don't have gutters.

    Kelly Rohrbach as CJ Parker, Alexandra Daddario as Summer, Ilfenesh Hadera as Stephanie Holden, Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon, Zac Efron as Matt Brody and Jon Bass as Ronnie in the film, "Baywatch."
  4. Think we're loco? The most unlikely Phil Collins soundtrack hit of the '80s

    Blogs

    Phil Collins was on the level of Kenny Loggins for soundtrack supremacy, but Collins wasn't content to stay in the background as he jumped back into acting with the movie Buster that spawned a solid soundtrack that included hidden gems like Loco In Acapulco by the Four Tops.

  5. Wine of the Week: Mark West Black Pinot Noir Monterey County 2015

    Bars & Spirits

    Mark West Pinot Noir, with its cheerful yellow label and thrifty price point, has long been a favorite of folks looking for a reliably drinkable, well-priced red.