Barack Obama, our 44th president, will be sworn in for his second term on January 21st. If you can’t make it to Washington, D.C. to watch history unfold, there are a few places in Tampa that can bring the experience closer to home.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum
2240 9th Ave. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 323-1104

This St. Petersburg museum’s mission is to inform and engage a diverse audience in African American history. The 2008 election of Barack Obama, our first African-American president, is a milestone in our nation’s history. African-American culture is represented through films, such as “Freedom Riders,” visual art, music, photographs, community discussions and more. There is even an exhibit dedicated to Obama himself. A visit to this museum will help you view this historic event through the eyes of people who have struggled to overcome — and succeeded.

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University of South Florida Marshall Student Center
4202 E. Fowler Ave., MSC 4100
Tampa, FL 33620
(813) 974-3180

If you attend USF — or even if you don’t — this free event is a great way to experience the presidential inauguration with other people. This free telecast, shown on multiple screens, was a success in 2009, and is again sponsored by the USF Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement. Some refreshments will be offered, in addition to multiple shops to purchase food and beverages, including Einstein Bros. Bagels, Chik-fil-A, Beef O’ Brady’s and Ben & Jerry’s. This is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and discuss history in the making. Doors open at 10 a.m.

Polk County History Center
100 E. Main St.
Bartow, FL 33830
(863) 534-4386

The Polk County History Center opened in 1998 in the old Polk County Courthouse. The museum hosts paintings, artifacts and guest speakers and lecturers to educate the public about our nation’s history. Pre-Columbian times through modern times are represented by the museum’s exhibits. The artifacts include everything from fossils, clothing, tools, military objects and more throughout our nation’s timeline.

Armed Forces Military Museum
2050 34th Way N.
Largo, FL 33771
(727) 539-8371

The military has been involved in presidential inaugurations since 1789, when members of the U.S. Army and Revolutionary War veterans escorted George Washington to the nation’s first inauguration ceremony. According to Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, “Our participation in the Presidential Inauguration is not just a historic occurrence, it represents one of the proudest traditions we have in the military — recognizing and honoring our citizen’s selection of the commander in chief.” The Armed Forces Military Museum preserves military history and educates the public about the many sacrifices made to safeguard our freedom.

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Host Your Own Viewing Party

You don’t have to leave your home to experience the inauguration in a fun way. You can invite your friends and neighbors and host a party of your own. Put on a recording of the United States Army Band playing patriotic staples like “Stars and Stripes” and “Espirit de Corps,” decorate your home with red, white and blue balloons and serve up some fancy inaugural ball food. Bring out your inner chef and try making up some dishes such as seafood stew, chicken medallions, veal or lamb with appropriate wine pairings. Be sure to follow up the meal with some ice cream, an inaugural ball favorite.

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at