Museums in Downtown St. Petersburg

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The Florida Holocaust Museum, located in the heart of St. Petersburg's museum and art district, was founded in 1992 with the help of prominent Holocaust scholars such as Schindler's List author Thomas Keneally. The museum's three floors feature permanent exhibitions, a library, and smaller rotating exhibits. Housed on the museum's first floor is the core exhibition, History, Heritage and Hope, which documents the Holocaust through recollections of survivors and original artifacts, including Boxcar #113 069-5??one of the few remaining Nazi railroad boxcars. The third floor is home to the museum's other permanent exhibition, Kaddish in Wood: Woodcarvings by Dr. Herbert Savel, showcasing his woodcarvings of French children who perished during the Holocaust.

A leading force for change in the community and beyond, part of the museum's mission is to spread its message of tolerance by continuously collecting and displaying contemporary artistic responses to the Holocaust and other genocides. Their hope is to educate and inspire visitors to learn from the past in order to be the upstanders of today. The museum makes Kadish in Wood??as well as 18 other traveling exhibitions??available to museums, historical societies, and community centers nationwide. From scholars reading their latest work to survivors discussing their experiences, the museum's events also shed light on the past in an effort to prevent future genocide.

55 5th St. S
Saint Petersburg,
FL
US

Classical, opera, and popular orchestral compositions make up the repertoire of the Southwest Florida Symphony, which has made quality programming its mission since 1961. Aiming to make music accessible to all, the symphony visits schools, offers scholarships, books youth-friendly concerts, and provides a friendly First-Timer’s Guide for new audience members unfamiliar with the proper way of applauding.

244 2nd Ave N
Saint Petersburg,
FL
US

Judie Dazzio believes that everyone can be an artist. And at Dazzio Art Experience—a comprehensive art school—she helps everyone from children to adults and novices to professionals harness their creativity. Though she's a painter herself—having won awards for her work with watercolors and acrylics—she caters to range of artistic interests, offering classes in acrylics and watercolors but also branching out into sculpture, illustration, and Photoshop. For the experienced artist, she and her instructors provide developmental classes to help them produce portfolio pieces and host group critique sessions.

Beyond teaching her students the techniques to create, she also displays their works in a gallery attached to her school. Here, rows upon rows of painted canvases, sculptures, and handcrafted jewelry showcase their newly acquired talents.

627 Central Ave
Saint Petersburg,
FL
US

The Morean Arts Center connects visitors with multiple forms of modern art, welcoming them to explore galleries, a glass studio, and a clay center, all of which host classes, exhibits, events, and retail opportunities. The center was founded in 1917 and has served as the community's art center ever since. The Chihuly Collection showcases a permanent exhibition of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly's installations. His magnificent bright forms, many of which are inspired by nature, spiral toward the ceiling, housed in a 10,000-square-foot structure designed by award-winning architect Alberto Alfonso. A visit to the Glass Studio and Hot Shop immerses guests in the creation of glass works, as artists manipulate molten glass into vibrant orbs and vases. At the Morean Center for Clay visitors can view amazing works of art in the gallery and watch artists work during classes and open-studio time. The center also operates as a retail venue, where customers can purchase local and regional art.

719 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg,
FL
US

The Experience

Inside a building in St. Petersburg, works of art from around the world gather like good friends. Georgia O'Keeffe's Poppy hangs not far from Paul Cézanne's A Corner of the Woods, Pointoise. Claude Monet's Houses of Parliament gives a glimpse of faraway lands, while Thomas Moran's Florida Landscape stays closer to home.

With a range of permanent and rotating exhibitions, the Museum of Fine Arts seeks to engage visitors with art while preserving the pieces in its care. Much of the collection resides in an original 1960s building, but an adjacent modern gallery draws in visitors with special exhibitions, an art library, and interactive educational facilities—ensuring they have plenty of ways to experience art or at least overcome a fear of informational plaques.

The Highlights

  • Permanent collection houses pieces from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, as well as classical and modern American art
  • Daily events include docent-led tours, hands-on workshops, classical concerts, and lectures
  • MFA Café overlooks the waterfront

Who They Are

Even before the Museum of Fine Arts opened to the public in 1965, founder Margaret Acheson Stuart saw its galleries as a space where diverse audiences could explore art "from antiquity to the present." Architect John Volk had designed the original museum wing to instill visitors with a feeling of solidness and permanence. Decades later, the museum sought to expand, and conducted a nationwide search for a worthy architect. They were rewarded with designer Yann Weymouth, who completed a second building in 2008—a two-story, modern glass conservatory.

255 Beach Dr NE
Saint Petersburg,
FL
US

Since 1922, St. Petersburg Museum of History has preserved the heritage of St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula with expansive collections and four galleries that host annually rotating exhibits. Its permanent exhibits, meanwhile, trace the area’s history from Native Americans to the present day through artifacts such as a cannonball fired by Union sailors and replica of a parlor car from the Orange Belt Railway. Elsewhere, the World's First Commercial Airline Gallery charts commercial aviation history with a full-size working replica of the Benoist Airboat and the first-ever pterodactyl to earn a commercial-flying license. Visitors looking to delve deeper into the past can explore more than 32,000 artifacts in the museum archives or partake in one of its educational programs such as tours, community classes, and camps.

335 2nd Ave NE
Saint Petersburg,
FL
US