The Tampa Museum of Art is housed in a striking rectangular building wrapped in a perforated aluminium skin embedded with programmable LED lights. During the day, the façade reflects clouds and daylight. At night it becomes a glowing canvas for a light installation. The museum first opened its doors in 1979, but moved to this new home on the north side of the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in 2010.
Go straight to the museum’s heart, the eight galleries on the second floor. There are 14,000 square feet (1,300 square metres) of exhibition space that display the permanent collections and an ever-changing roster of temporary exhibits.
Make time for the extensive collection of classical Greek and Roman sculptures and pottery. There’s a strong focus on Greek painted pottery from around 600 b.c. to 300 b.c.
Another highlight is the photographic collection. It’s in two parts: the first covers 19th-century photography of archaeological sites and artifacts housed in European museums. The second features general photography from the 1970s onwards.
On the ground floor you’ll find a museum store, café and lecture rooms. Step outside for a walk through the large sculpture terrace that features travelling exhibits. Occasionally, there won’t be any art on show here. Even so, it’s a relaxing spot and offers good views of the Hillsborough River.
For families with young children, there’s the Art Spot, a drop-in art programme held every Saturday. Kids are able to paint, draw, sketch and sculpt. Check the museum’s website for times.
The Tampa Museum of Art is situated in downtown Tampa on the Hillsborough River. It’s easily accessible by public transport. There are also pay parking options in the nearby William Poe Garage.
The museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.