MUSEUMS: Cool & historic things to see


Anna Maria Island Historical Complex: 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria

The Anna Maria Historical Museum, built in 1920 as an icehouse, features displays of life on a barrier island from 1890 to 1950. Visit the famous old island jail, “no doors, no windows, no roof, no bars” and tour Belle Haven Cottage, a beautifully restored 1920 cracker house filled with period antiques and furnishings. Outside the cottage, stroll along the “mangrove walk,” a natural Florida garden landscaped with tropical plants and trees. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free. Information: 778-0492 or www.amihs.org.

Family Heritage House: 60th Avenue and 26th Street West, Bradenton

The Family Heritage House Museum at MCC is a gallery and resource center for the study of African-American achievements and celebrates the cultural diversity of our communities. The permanent collection includes an exhibition called “Timeline: A Walk Through History,” a diorama of old Central Avenue that is now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, antiques, photographs, literature and a research center on the Underground Railroad. A video collection that includes art, dance, music, history and other topics of interest, is also available for viewing. Other exhibits feature sports, African masks, dolls, community builders, schools and educators, historic tools and more. The Family Heritage House has received national recognition for its Underground Railroad research center through its inclusion in the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. Information: 752-5319 or www.familyheritagehouse.com.

South Florida Museum: 201 10th Street W., Bradenton

“Finders Keepers: Collectors and Collections” will be on display Jan. 24-March 8. The exhibit looks into the motivation behind the art of collecting. The museum is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s west coast and is one of the oldest operating museums in the state. It includes the Bishop Planetarium and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Admission: $15.95 adults, $13.95 seniors and $11.95 children ages 4 through 12. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Information: 746-4131 or www.southfloridamuseum.org.


John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: 5401 Bay Shore Road

New: Wisconsin, the Ringlings’ private railroad car will be open to the public beginning Jan. 23. Exhibits: “Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan,” through Feb. 8. “You Be the Judge,” through May 10. Apple iPod audio tours are now available, providing visitors with a comprehensive overview of the Ca d’Zan Mansion’s first floor and gardens. The 23-stop tour is set to period music and character voices along with high-resolution digital images of the mansion. The tour lasts 45 minutes. Visitors can personalize their tour, choosing where to stop and what to listen to. The museum presents “Handz-On” for families, a drop-in program 1-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, offers an art-making experience for children and parents. The program is included in the admission price. The Ringling will show a 30-minute film, “The Life and Times of John and Mable Ringling,” four times daily in the restored Historic Asolo Theater. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children. Advanced registration is recommended. The Howard Bros. Circus, the largest miniature circus in the world, is on permanent display in the Tibbals Learning Center. The museum includes 21 galleries of internationally recognized European and American art with paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Poussin and other baroque masters. General admission includes the Ringling Museum of Art, Ca d’Zan Mansion, the Circus Museum, the Rose Garden and grounds: $19 adults, $16 seniors 65 and older and U.S. military with ID, $6 children 6-17, students with ID, and Florida teachers. Free for children 5 and younger and museum members. Reservations, though not necessary, must be made at least one day in advance and guarantee a tour time for the Ca d’Zan Mansion. Museum hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily. Advance tickets: 358-3180. Information: 359-5700 or www.ringling.org.


Florida Holocaust Museum: 55 Fifth St. S.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors and students, $3 for people younger than 18; and free for museum members. Information: (727) 820-0100 and www.flholocaustmuseum.org.

Museum of Fine Arts: 255 Beach Drive N.E.

“Albrecht Durer: Art in Transition, Masterpieces from the Graphic Collection of the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany” is on exhibition through April 12. This is the largest and most comprehensive exhibit ever presented in the Tampa Bay area. “Beauty in Common Things: American Arts and Crafts Pottery from the Two Red Roses Foundation,” is on view through Feb. 15. It showcases 80 superb examples of pottery. “Theater in Ancient Art: The William Knight Zewadski Collection” through March. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors age 65 and older, $4 students age 6 and older, free to museum members and children younger than age 6. Information: (727) 896-2667.