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Tampa Bay History Center will reopen June 1

The museum in downtown Tampa will required timed tickets purchased online and will reduce capacity to maintain distance.

The Tampa Bay History Center in downtown Tampa will reopen to the public on June 1, the museum announced Thursday, and its Columbia Cafe will open next week.

The public will have to buy a timed ticket online in advance for the history museum, located next to Sparkman Wharf at 801 Water St. in Tampa. The center said it will be using safety recommendations outlined by the Centers for Disease Control, and following recommendations on reopening from the American Alliance of Museums, a news release said.

A permanent exhibit that opened in 2018 at the Tampa Bay History Center is Treasure Seekers. It features a 60-foot scale replica of a pirate ship and about 100 real shipwreck artifacts. [TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER | Tampa Bay History Center]

“We understand the historic nature of this pandemic and the dramatic effect it has had locally and across the nation,” said History Center president and CEO C.J. Roberts in a statement. “We also understand the importance of sharing our community’s stories, how learning about our common past can help to inform both the present and our future. We’re proud to continue that mission on June 1 when we reopen our galleries.”

In addition to limiting capacity in galleries and theater presentations, all of the History Center’s staff are required to wear protective equipment while interacting with the public. Ticket purchases will be conducted online only. Some “hands-on” gallery interactives have been temporarily disabled, and a regular schedule for cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic areas has been implemented.

The History Center will also reduce admission levels by $2 so an adult ticket is now $12.95. Children 6 and younger are free.

“We understand we’re offering a modified experience,” said Roberts. “To offset that, and to welcome our community back, we’re temporarily reducing our admission fees.”

The gallery capacity will be limited, so timed-entry tickets should be purchased in advance at tampabayhistorycenter.org and will go on sale beginning May 22.

A detailed list of safety protocols can be found at tampabayhistorycenter.org/policies-and-procedures/, and visitors are encouraged to call ahead or check the History Center’s website prior to visiting for up-to-date information and announcements.

While some of the History Center’s educational programs remain on hold, the museum has expanded its online offerings since closing in March. Lesson plans and activities for teachers and students, virtual tours of recent exhibits, artifact spotlights and more are available on the History Center’s website at tampabayhistorycenter.org/museum-at-home/ and social media channels while in-person programming is paused. A limited number of summer camp offerings are scheduled for July.

The Columbia Cafe at the History Center will open May 20 with a streamlined menu and new social distancing practices. The cafe will open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tables at the indoor/outdoor restaurant will be socially distanced and staff will wear masks and follow state and local hygiene guidelines for the safety of customers. The bar will be closed. Guests are not required to wear masks but are requested to observe social distancing guidelines.

For information, call (813) 228-0097 or visit tampabayhistorycenter.org.

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