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  1. St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg history museum gives first look at planned expansion.

The St. Petersburg Museum of History, west perspective of the gallery addition [St. Petersburg Museum of History]
The St. Petersburg Museum of History, west perspective of the gallery addition [St. Petersburg Museum of History]
Published Aug. 1, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The St. Petersburg Museum of History on the pier approach has unveiled renderings of its $7 million renovation and expansion project.

The 8,000-square-foot addition will feature a state-of-the-art exhibit gallery showcasing the history of St. Petersburg and the state, a visitor's center and a roof-top terrace overlooking the waterfront.

The museum, 335 Second Ave. NE, is celebrating its 98th year. It has received a $1 million commitment from the city of St. Petersburg for the public-private project and officials are also hoping for county and state grants. Museum trustees have launched a private capital improvement campaign.

RELATED STORY: St. Petersburg History Museum uses pier construction to jumpstart expansion plans

Phase one, which is under way, includes the addition of sprinklers to the existing building and renovations of the current main gallery. The sunken main gallery space dates back to an early 1950s structure, which was built after the 1920s building was razed. Executive director Rui Farias spoke about the surprise discovery of a terrazzo floor under the old carpeting. It is being preserved, he said.

The second phase of the project will be the two-story addition adjacent to the museum's Flight One Gallery. Work is expected to begin in October. The final phase will include enhancements to existing museum spaces, including staff offices and the archives and collections areas on the second floor. The archives, which are open to the public, include historic St. Petersburg photographs, postcards, maps, guides, family documents and 3-D artifacts. They have also been expanded to include Pinellas County and Florida historical items.

"We have the opportunity to create a premier museum that not only shares the history of the Sunshine City, but also the unique history of the entire state right here in St. Petersburg, Farias said in a statement. "Our goal is to create a visitor experience that will educate, entertain and leave our guests wanting to come back for more."

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