Moms will feel like a queen as they enter the grand hallway and stroll through authentically-restored rooms adorned with European furniture and art of the Gilded Age, according to Sally Shifke, director of museum relations for Henry B. Plant Museum.
Shifke said the museum, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, will treat moms on Mother’s Day, May 12, with free admission.
“Mother’s Day is really a very busy day for us,” she said. “We have all generations that bring their mothers – from grandmothers to very young mothers. I think the reason people bring their mothers here is because it’s such a romantic spot. You are taking your mother, who works so hard all year round, somewhere that’s an escape of from her duties as a mother.”
Shifke said at 2 p.m. on Mother’s Day, they will have a 30-minute live theater performance featuring former first lady and hotel guest Edith Roosevelt. Actor Lynne Locher will play the part of Roosevelt, who stayed at the hotel when her husband, Theodore Roosevelt, was in town with his famous Rough Riders waiting for word to leave for Cuba and the Spanish-American War.
“When I think of Florida, I think of it as being very new, but really we do have quite a history in Tampa,” Shifke said. “That’s why this building is so iconic. Also, the architecture is so unique.”
She said guests who visit on Mother’s Day may listen to an audio tour, watch a video of the history of the museum and browse “The Language of Jewelry” exhibit that features more than 350 pieces from the 1850s to 1930s.
With its Moorish architecture, opulent furnishings and tropical gardens, the former Tampa hotel might transport moms back to the Victorian age.
“There is something about when you walk through the doors and listen to the music of the era you start to relax,” she said. “You look at these beautiful antiques. We want people to envision what it was like to be a guest at the hotel. For someone visiting, like a mom, it really takes her away. She can just enjoy the experience since she is not the one doing all of the work.”
Shifke said the historic former hotel, located on the University of Tampa campus, attracted a number of celebrated guests including Sarah Bernhardt and Babe Ruth.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. It is closed Mondays. Parking is free in front of the museum or in the Thomas Parking Garage.
For more information, visit plantmuseum.com.