History and Vision of the Sulphur Springs Museum
Sulphur Springs, home to many historic buildings and sites, has a rich and diverse history. Long time residents and members of the Sulphur Springs Neighborhood Association created the Museum's vision: to showcase this history, contribute to the community's economic growth, increase respect and preservation of its natural features, and provide educational resources and opportunities. Our Museum was founded in 2006, as we partnered with faculty and students in University of South Florida's Department of Anthropology, who helped us by performing research, conducting oral histories with local residents, and providing other resources to support our initiative. In 2017, we opened in a new facility at the Mann-Wagnon Memorial Park, marking a new era for the museum.
Meet Our People
Museum Director Amy Dao
Amy is a Tampa native who started as a summer intern for the museum in 2021. After graduating with her Masters degree in Museum Studies at the University of San Francisco, she returned in January 2022 as our newest Director. In that role, she is responsible for all day-to-day museum operations.
Volunteer Executive Board Members
Norma Robinson and the late Joseph Robinson
The Museum's founders retired to Florida from New York in 1997, and settled in Sulphur Springs. As member of the Sulphur Springs Action (SSAL) league, they became community advocates. Joseph served as President of the City of Tampa Enterprise Zone Board, and as a representative on THAN, the Tampa Homeowners Association of Neighborhoods. He also served as President of the Sulphur Springs Alliance, and many other community groups. Joseph passed away in 2021. Norma served as Secretary of SSAL, and her roles in the community have included managing teen programs, working with Cub Master Boys Scouts, tutoring for PCAT (Parents and Children Achieve Together), and participating the first Mayor’s Neighborhood University. The Robinsons, together with the late Linda Hope, founded the Museum, and Norma volunteered as its Director until January 2022. She maintains a key role in Museum operations.
Antoinette T. Jackson, Ph.D.
Antoinette is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at USF, and Director of the USF Heritage Research Lab. Her work centers on critical study of heritage, mostly in the U.S. and Caribbean. She recently completed a 4-year federal appointment as Regional Cultural Anthropologist for the U.S. National Park Service Southeast Region, and has won many grants to study heritage issues at specific sites. Her research has been published widely; her most recent book, The Other Side of Leisure: Heritage, Tourism, and Race, was published in 2020. For more information, on Dr. Jackson, click here.
S. Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D.
Liz is Professor Emerita and past Chair of Anthropology at USF, where she taught cultural anthropology, folklore, and media studies for over 20 years.Her research focuses on media, folklore, and cultural heritage in the U.S. and Nigeria; she has published over 100 articles/chapters, and seven books, including The Asaba Massacre: Trauma, Memory and the Nigerian Civil War, winner of the 2018 Oral History Association Book Award. For more information about her Nigerian work, click here.
Elizabeth Hapner, Esq.
Betsey is attorney/owner at Hapner Law, Tampa, specializing in civil litigation, probate and guardianship, and is an active member of Tampa's philanthropic community.
Mitch is Philanthropy Officer for Tampa PBS station, WEDU, where he works to develop connections with potential donors and supporters of the station.
Advisory Committee Members
Phyllis holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from USF, as well as A.A. degrees in both Liberal Arts and Environmental Science from Hillsborough Community College. Post-graduation, she worked as a naturalist at HCC, and led numerous field excursions to both salt and freshwater environments for K-14 students. She has done extensive research into native plants and indigenous utilization, and is an amateur photographer. She joined the Museum as an Advisory Board member, and then as the volunteer naturalist in educational outreach. The Museum’s collection, especially its many vintage postcards, has opened up new explorations in artifacts and memorabilia.
Delores has been a resident of Sulphur Springs since 1993, and has served as Secretary for Sulphur Springs Neighborhood Association Action League since 2016. She has been involved with Sulphur Springs Museum community services since 2017.
Staff Member Thomas Baldwin
Thomas has been a resident of Sulphur Springs for 22 years; he "has worked, lived, played, all through the community." He works at the Museum 20 hours a week, supporting its day-today activities, events, and exhibits, and maintaining the building and grounds. He says that he enjoys the work that "brings me in contact with different people from all over the world."