About St. Petersburg Museum of History
The St. Petersburg Museum of History aims to collect, restore, preserve, and communicate the rich storied past of St. Petersburg, the Pinellas Peninsula, and the rest of Florida to members of the local community and the rest of the world. It strives to collect and share as much of the colorful history and rich cultural heritage of the region for educational purposes as well as for the appreciation of the region’s transformation to become one of the nation’s foremost cities today.
The oldest museum in Pinellas County, the St. Petersburg Museum of History was formerly known as the St. Petersburg Memorial Historical Society when it first opened its doors to the adoring public in 1921. The Society started collecting the different artifacts, archival documents, photographs, and specimens of natural history that depicted the movement of the region towards 20th century development and progress. It was through the unrelenting effort and steely determination of Mary Wheeler Eaton and her contemporaries that the Society was able to amass considerable historical wealth that has become the foundation of the present-day Museum. Ordinary residents at the time contributed to the growth of the Society, dropping at the very doorsteps of the St. Petersburg Memorial Historical Society countless boxes of unknown treasures that show the rich cultural heritage of the city and the county of Pinellas.
By 1922, the local government of St. Petersburg granted the Society to use the old aquarium building near the exact same spot where the first-ever commercial flight was born by the St. Petersburg Pier some 8 years earlier in the morning of January 1st 1914. It still sits there to this very day.
The St. Petersburg Museum of History tells of the remarkable transformation of the city and its surrounding areas through the winds of change that have marked the later parts of the 18th century and well into the 20th century where the city now stands as the state’s 5th most populous city.
The Museum is best known for its Lark of Duluth exhibit, a Benoist XIV biplane seaplane that marked the beginning of the era of air travel. It also houses the world’s largest collection of baseballs autographed by many of the sport’s greatest such as Babe Ruth. Its halls have seen a variety of exhibits through the years
The St. Petersburg Museum of History continues to amass considerable knowledge about the historical development of the city and the Pinellas County as it ushers in a new era of increased historical awareness in the 21st century.