AAA Editor Notes
Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the south wing of Plant Hall at 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. Built in 1891 as the luxurious Tampa Bay Hotel by Henry Bradley Plant, a wealthy railroad magnate, the museum displays the Moorish Revival-style building's original collection of decorative arts and furnishings from the Gilded Age. The hotel, made of red brick and topped with stainless steel minarets and domes, cost $3,000,000 to build; the price includes much of the Victorian decor purchased by Plant and his wife during trips to Europe.
Hotel guests included Theodore Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, actress Sarah Bernhardt, author Stephen Crane and the Prince of Wales. Edison carbon filament light bulbs are the only lights used throughout the museum so that visitors may experience the hotel much like its original visitors. Exhibits are housed in 14 former guestrooms and re-create the first-class accommodations and activities of 1891.
A 14-minute video presentation highlights Tampa's Victorian-era lifestyle and tourism, and a live stage performance features character vignettes of the hotel's staff and guests. The 1-hour self-guiding audio tour features oral histories, commentary, music and sound effects. A Victorian Christmas Stroll in December depicts a traditional 19th-century holiday.
Strollers, backpacks and large bags are not permitted.
Guided tours are available. Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.