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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 1,201 Hotels near St. Petersburg Museum of History
$98
Ponce De Leon Hotel

Ponce De Leon Hotel

95 Central Ave, St. Petersburg
3.4
of 5, from 1,475 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in 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).

$127
Hollander Boutique Hotel

Hollander Boutique Hotel

421 4th Ave N, St. Petersburg
4.5
of 5, from 1,993 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in 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).

$199
Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown

Hyatt Place St. Petersburg / Downtown

25 2nd Street North, St. Petersburg
4.5
of 5, from 24 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

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

$289
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 794 reviews
4.5 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).

$115
Avalon Hotel Downtown St. Petersburg

Avalon Hotel Downtown St. Petersburg

443 4th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
4.5
of 5, from 290 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in 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).

$310
The Birchwood

The Birchwood

340 Beach Dr Ne, St. Petersburg
4.6
of 5, from 134 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in 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.

$119
Cordova Inn

Cordova Inn

253 2nd Ave N, St. Petersburg
3.9
of 5, from 749 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.

$116
Mansion Inn

Mansion Inn

105 5th Avenue NE, St. Petersburg
3.6
of 5, from 113 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in 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).