Make us your home page
Instagram

Valentines, the old-fashioned way, at Henry B. Plant Museum

Henry B. Plant Museum

A Victorian valentine from the Henry B. Plant Museum.

Henry B. Plant Museum

We could be cynical and call Valentine's Day the Hallmark and FTD Holiday because, goodness knows, millions are spent on cards and flowers. Candy expenditures rank right up there, too. And if you haven't already made a dinner reservation, you had better develop a solid Plan B now or risk tragic repercussions. Still, I'm a sucker for the holiday.

The concept of Valentine's Day stretches way back, first as a saints' day in the Christian Church. There are various theories about how it evolved into a celebration of romantic love that today celebrates love in general. Yes, you can get a Valentine's Day card for your dog.

Did you know that the Victorians invented the valentine as a mass-produced commercial commodity? I didn't until I initiated a little research sparked by "Valentines: Tokens of Affection," an exhibition at the Henry B. Plant Museum. It's a collection of antique valentines from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That era's version of mass-produced and ours are different. Even though manufacturers availed themselves of printing technologies that allowed them to churn out stock cards, workers also embellished them individually in factories with bits of lace, ribbon, dried flowers and feathers.

This is a sweet show, seen in the context of the museum, which is housed in part of Henry B. Plant's epic (for the time) 1891 Tampa Hotel, now part of the University of Tampa, 401 W Kennedy Blvd. It's a valentine of sorts to the Gilded Age in which it was built and thrived, with lavish architectural details and interior furnishings.

See the valentines through Feb. 28 at the museum, which is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 adults, $7 seniors and students and $5 kids 4 to 12. plantmuseum.com or (813) 258-7302.

Lennie Bennett, Times art critic

Valentines, the old-fashioned way, at Henry B. Plant Museum 02/11/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 6:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Watch Round 3 of Feeding Tampa Bay's Epic Chef Showdown

    Cooking

    TAMPA — Round 3 of the third annual Epic Chef Showdown to benefit Feeding Tampa Bay is Monday night, and you can watch it live right here.

    Chef Richard Bergendale of The Mill restaurant and Sous Chef Jeff Thornsberry of Locale Market competed in Round 1 of the Epic Chef Showdown. [Epicurean Hotel / Feeding Tampa Bay]
  2. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride

    Florida

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  3. Restaurant review: Food and beer pair nicely at the Eatery at Brew Bus Terminal and Brewery

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA - Tampa Bay's craft beer scene is perennially in flux. New breweries open, others close or get scooped up by bigger breweries, some reinvent themselves so they can sell beer off site, and still others build on kitchens and add food to give enthusiasts another reason to sit tight.

    A Passion of the Heights hibiscus wheat ale is displayed at The Brew Bus in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017.  The Brew Bus Terminal, which houses a microbrewery and tasting room and serves as a hub for bus tours to local breweries, has opened an on-site kitchen called the Eatery. With the opening of the new casual dining concept, the brewery joins the ranks of microbreweries across the country that have asked that question: "What goes with beer? Hey, how about food?"
  4. Daniel Lipton resigns as artistic director of Opera Tampa

    Stage

    TAMPA — Daniel Lipton has resigned as artistic director of Opera Tampa, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announced.

    Daniel Lipton became the artistic director and conductor of Opera Tampa in 2012. Lipton replaced the opera's only previous director, Anton Coppola, who retired. [Times file (2012)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 25

    Events

    Shawn Mendes: The multi platinum-selling singer/songwriter embarks on his first-ever headlining arena word tour in support of his sophomore album Illuminate. Charlie Puth opens. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $43.75-$63.75. (813) 301-2500.

    Shawn Mendes, performing at Amalie Arena on 7/25/17. Credit: James Minchin.