Gasparilla history celebrated at Henry B. Plant Museum - WFLA News Channel 8

Gasparilla history celebrated at Henry B. Plant Museum

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One of the costumes at the Henry B. Plant Museum One of the costumes at the Henry B. Plant Museum

In the Henry B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa, there is treasure. There is a treasure chest filled with plastic beads and replicas of gold coins.

Far more valuable treasure on display are the artifacts and costumes that tell the story of the history of Gasparilla. The Gasparilla tradition has been a part of Tampa since 1904.

The museum has collected photographs, invitations, gowns and much more to help tell the story.

"It's very interesting to watch the transition of Gasparilla and I think some of the most think some of the most dramatic things that have changed are the floats," said Sally Shifkey with the museum.

Included on display are photographs of Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans who served as Grand Marshals of the parade in 1959. Another photo shows famed clown Emmett Kelly, who also served as a parade Grand Marshal.

Many of the photo's on display show members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the names on the photographs will be notable to anyone who has lived in Tampa. From John F. Germany to George Steinbrenner, the Gasparilla Kings and Queens are some of the most recognizable figures in Tampa.

Sally Shifkey says the museum exhibit tells the story of families in Tampa and their connection to Gasparilla.

"I think oftentimes when you read about it in the paper you really have no idea of what it's about. By coming to the museum, you actually get to look at the invitations that they receive," said Shifkey.

One photo of the Gasparilla Coronation Ball shows a unique time in Tampa and world history.

"One of my favorite pictures is 1924. That was the year that King Tut's tomb was discovered, so they decided to have an Egyptian theme that year," said Shifkey.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, but will be closed on Gasparilla Parade day so that the museum can celebrate the event with the partying pirates.

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