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St. Petersburg Museum of History

Innovative displays and numerous artifacts keep local history alive and point out the influence this city has had on commercial aviation.

St. Petersburg was founded in the late 19th century. In just a few centuries, much has happened on the Pinellas Peninsula, and this is reflected in the St. Petersburg Museum of History’s collections. The space itself may be small, but there are over 30,000 artifacts to be viewed. This is an ideal place to explore early on during your St. Petersburg vacation to learn about the local background before seeing the sights.

A permanent display explores the roots of St. Petersburg. Through historic photos and artifacts you’ll learn how the area was once inhabited by Native Americans. The city was co-founded by John C. Williams from Detroit and Peter Demens, a Russian. The two men set out to lay the foundations and railway connection of modern-day St. Pete. Keep an eye out for the Tocobaga-crafted canoe, and the replica parlor car from the Orange Belt Railway.

The museum also informs visitors about St. Petersburg’s major achievements in the history of the United States. You’ll learn, for example, how the city was home to one of the world’s first airlines, Benoist Airlines. It was the first aviation company that didn’t have a fleet of Zeppelins, but instead used winged aircraft. Stare up at a full-size working replica of the Benoist Airboat, the museum’s star attraction.

St. Petersburg Museum of History has constantly changing exhibitions, which often focus on St. Petersburg itself, but also touch on Florida and the wider world. Check the museum’s website to find out what’s on during your visit.

Aside from exhibitions, there are a number of events to keep visitors engaged. A regular slot, “Happy Hour with the Historian,” invites people in for wine, food and discussion with a local historian. It’s a great way to learn more and get to know the locals. The admission fee is a suggested donation and there is a cash bar. Check the museum’s website for a schedule of topics and dates.

St. Petersburg Museum of History charges an admission fee. It is closed on Mondays and Sunday mornings. The museum overlooks the marina in a building that was once an aquarium, located just east of Bay Shore Drive on a spit in Tampa Bay. There is free parking behind the museum. The Downtown Looper trolley stops at the museum and other major attractions in central St. Petersburg.


Guide to Exploring around St. Petersburg Museum of History


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Lodging Near St. Petersburg Museum of History

See all 1,288 Hotels near St. Petersburg Museum of History
Ponce De Leon Hotel $106
Ponce De Leon Hotel

Ponce De Leon Hotel

95 Central Ave, St. Petersburg
     
    3.4
    of 5, from 1,482 reviews
    3.0 out of 5.0

    Located in the heart of Downtown St. Petersburg, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Pioneer Park and Museum of Fine Arts. Salvador Dali Museum and The Pier are also within 1 mi (2 km).

    Hollander Boutique Hotel $97
    Hollander Boutique Hotel

    Hollander Boutique Hotel

    421 4th Ave N, St. Petersburg
       
      4.5
      of 5, from 2,086 reviews
      3.0 out of 5.0

      Located in the heart of Downtown St. Petersburg, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of The Coliseum and Museum of Fine Arts. Salvador Dali Museum and Sunken Gardens are also within 1 mi (2 km).

      Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown $159
      Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown

      Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown

      25 2nd Street North, St. Petersburg
         
        4.5
        of 5, from 57 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in Downtown St. Petersburg, this hotel is steps from Jannus Live and Pioneer Park.

        The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club $186
        The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club

        The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club

        501 5th Ave Ne, St. Petersburg
           
          4.6
          of 5, from 811 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in St. Petersburg, this spa resort is within a 10-minute walk of Chihuly Collection and Museum of Fine Arts. Salvador Dali Museum and The Pier are also within 2 mi (3 km).

          Avalon Hotel Downtown St. Petersburg $99
          Avalon Hotel Downtown St. Petersburg

          Avalon Hotel Downtown St. Petersburg

          443 4th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
             
            4.5
            of 5, from 333 reviews
            2.5 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of Downtown St. Petersburg, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of The Coliseum and Museum of Fine Arts. Salvador Dali Museum and Sunken Gardens are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            The Birchwood $310
            The Birchwood

            The Birchwood

            340 Beach Dr Ne, St. Petersburg
               
              4.6
              of 5, from 143 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Located in the heart of Downtown St. Petersburg, this hotel is steps from Chihuly Collection and Museum of Fine Arts. St. Petersburg Museum of History and Sundial St. Pete are also within 10 minutes.

              Cordova Inn $93
              Cordova Inn

              Cordova Inn

              253 2nd Ave N, St. Petersburg
                 
                3.8
                of 5, from 773 reviews
                2.5 out of 5.0

                Built in 1921, this smoke-free boutique hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida is 3 blocks from Tampa Bay, and 9 miles from the Gulf.

                Mansion Inn $89
                Mansion Inn

                Mansion Inn

                105 5th Avenue NE, St. Petersburg
                   
                  3.6
                  of 5, from 118 reviews
                  3.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in the heart of Downtown St. Petersburg, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Chihuly Collection and Museum of Fine Arts. The Pier and Sunken Gardens are also within 1 mi (2 km).