Making the Tampa connection at the Henry B. Plant Museum

Red Cross Nursing and the War of 1898: The Tampa Connection looks at Red Cross nurses and their role in the war.

click to enlarge Making the Tampa connection at the Henry B. Plant Museum
Courtesy of the University of Tampa

There's a new exhibit at the Henry B. Plant Museum, and it's a joint effort between a professor, his students and the local museum community. University of Tampa Associate Professor Charles McGraw Groh did the bulk of the research, but his students curated the work for exhibit. And you can see the fruit of their labor at the Plant Museum — but only until the end of this month.

The exhibit, Red Cross Nursing and the War of 1898: The Tampa Connection, travels with the women who came to Tampa from New York — and then headed to Cuba — as the first American Red Cross nurses in a time of war. 

Students had to research different ways of curating history for the public, using the Plant Museum, the Florida Holocaust Museum and Perry Harvey Park as a springboard for their research. They also worked with local museum pros, especially Plant Museum curators Susan Carter and Heather Trubee Brown, who worked with students through every stage of planning this exhibit. 

The Plant Museum has a permanent exhibit regarding the Spanish-American War. Most people don't know that The Tampa Bay Hotel — built by Henry Plant and now known as Plant Hall at the University of Tampa — housed Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, nor do they realize Tampa was the assembly point for the Spanish-American War. Tampa was kind of a big deal — the Rough Riders came through here, yeah, along with Teddy Roosevelt, and also those nurses, which changed the game for women and war. 

The exhibit runs through May and it will return for a week in July for Archives Awareness Week (July 9-15), and it's the perfect complement to the Museum's permanent collection. 


About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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