Since 1933, the Tampa Bay Hotel has been home to the Henry B. Plant Museum and The University of Tampa. The building, renamed Plant Hall, is a National Historic Landmark. The Henry B. Plant Museum holds the distinction of accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. Its mission is to interpret the history and lifestyle of America’s Gilded Age and the life and significant contributions of Henry Bradley Plant to the development of Florida and Tampa Bay. Original furnishings and artifacts and a dynamic self-guided audio tour immerse visitors in the opulence of the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel and its rich history.
The building was bought by the city in 1904 after the death of Henry Plant in 1899. It operated as a hotel until 1932. In 1933, the Tampa Municipal Museum was established in the south wing of the first floor in order to preserve the legacy of the Tampa Bay Hotel. The remainder of the building, as well as the property, became home to The University of Tampa. The Museum houses original Hotel furnishings and art objects collected by Mr. and Mrs. Plant from Europe and the Orient. The Tampa Municipal Museum became the Henry B. Plant Museum in 1974. Since then, its mission has been to interpret the Tampa Bay Hotel at the turn-of-the-century and the Victorian lifestyles of America’s Gilded Age for people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of interest. The Museum seeks to transport the visitor through educational exhibits and events to the late Victorian period, the beginning of Florida’s tourist industry, and the early years of the city of Tampa.