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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 1,140 Hotels near St. Petersburg Museum of History
Hollander Boutique Hotel $105
Hollander Boutique Hotel

Hollander Boutique Hotel

421 4th Ave N, St. Petersburg
     
    4.5
    of 5, from 2,120 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).

    Ponce De Leon Hotel $99
    Ponce De Leon Hotel

    Ponce De Leon Hotel

    95 Central Ave, St. Petersburg
       
      3.4
      of 5, from 1,500 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).

      Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown $151
      Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown

      Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown

      25 2nd Street North, St. Petersburg
         
        4.5
        of 5, from 76 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 $161
        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 815 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).

          Hampton Inn & Suites St. Petersburg/Downtown $148
          Hampton Inn & Suites St. Petersburg/Downtown

          Hampton Inn & Suites St. Petersburg/Downtown

          80 Beach Dr NE, St. Petersburg
             
            4.5
            of 5, from 646 reviews
            2.5 out of 5.0

            Situated in Downtown St. Petersburg, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Museum of Fine Arts and Sundial St. Pete. Al Lang Stadium and Chihuly Collection are also within 10 minutes.

            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 359 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 $215
              The Birchwood

              The Birchwood

              340 Beach Dr Ne, St. Petersburg
                 
                4.6
                of 5, from 146 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.

                Watergarden Inn at the Bay $135
                Watergarden Inn at the Bay

                Watergarden Inn at the Bay

                126 4th Ave NE, St. Petersburg
                   
                  4.7
                  of 5, from 26 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Situated in the entertainment district, this bed & breakfast is close to Chihuly Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, and The Pier. Also nearby are Salvador Dali Museum and Sunken Gardens.