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Fundraising Plan Roosevelt and the Rough Ride
Tampa Bay History Center
July 26, 2016
Tampa Bay History Center (TBHC)
Roosevelt and the Rough Ride: Tampa’s Role in the SpanishAmerican War
Museum History & Mission Statement
Tampa Bay History Center is a Smithsonian affiliated organization, one of only twelve
such organizations in Florida, that opened its doors in 2009. It boasts threestories of
exhibition space with a focus on the past 12,000 years of Florida history. TBHC greets 3
million tourists annually and is a recipient of a Silver LEED certification in 2012 from the
U.S. Green Building Council. The museum’s Witt Research Center operates
symbiotically with TampaHillsborough County Public Library System and the museum
restaurant samples Columbia Cafe, a nearby restaurant embracing rich Cuban flavors,
indicative of the area’s history.
The exhibits touch on many of the indigenous Florida peoples, European exploration
and imperialism, Tampa in the 20th21st century, and Icons of Tampa Bay . Icons is
unique because it focuses not on race, events or specific time periods but on sheerly
who or what makes Tampa Tampa. The list includes Babe Ruth, pirate Jose Gaspar,
Cigar City, flamenco dancers, etc. The third floor is reserved for temporary exhibits and
galleries, offering our visitors an everchanging variety of art and culture from around
Mission Statement: The Tampa Bay History Center serves as a dynamic and
entertaining learning resource that inspires a sense of place and pride for diverse
audiences of all ages through interactive educational programs and engaging
The Tampa Bay History Center submits ambitious plans to construct a new permanent
exhibit focusing on Tampa Bay as a strategic port of launch for Theodore Roosevelt, a
prominent figure not included in the Icons of Tampa Bay, and his troops during the
SpanishAmerican War. It will replace the current exhibit Year Around Play. This new
exhibition will center around the all new attraction, The Rough Ride, and will display
regional and war paraphernalia from the period, informational graphics, and interactive
audio/visual mediums that discuss Henry B. Plantowner of the Plant System
railwaysand early Tampa tourism; the Buffalo Soldiers the African American cavalry;
the Rough Riders, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and General Leonard Woods; and the
context and repercussions of the SpanishAmerican War.
The Rough RideA Plant System passenger train, like that which was used to transport
the troops into Tampa, will be reconstructed. Each window will be outfitted with an
digital screen and vibrating seats to simulate traveling through turnofthecentury
Florida before pulling finally into Tampa Bay. In cooperation with Discovery Channel,
Mythbuster’s Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman frame the narration of the attraction
while portraying Colonel Roosevelt (Hyneman) and General Leonard Woods (Savage)
via Musion Eyeliner system, a modern take on Pepper’s ghost. They will be visible at
the front of the train car to give guests the impression they share the same space.
Edmund Morris, acclaimed author of “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” biographical
trilogy and recipient of Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and Los Angeles Times
Book Prize, is enlisted to narrate the optional audio in the surrounding displays
regarding Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and Buffalo Soldiers.
● Gutting Year Around Play Exhibit and repainting ($3K)
● Jamie and Adam actor pay ($80K; $40K each)
● Musion Eyeliner system filming ($10K)
● Musion Eyeliner system material and installation ($30K)
● Henry B. Plant refurbished passenger carriage and installation ($200K)
● Information graphic displays and installation ($2K)
● Loaned paraphernalia (University of Tampa; NMAH; City of Los Vegas Museum)
displays and installation ($6K)
● Edmund Morris script/recording ($7K)
● Miscellaneous ($15K)
Total Cost: $350,000
TBHC is proposing an exhibition that links cultural diversity with a pivotal moment in
Tampa Bay History that affected both the Western and Eastern hemispheresthe
launch to Cuba during the SpanishAmerican War.
The SpanishAmerican War began when the United States found it beneficial to help
liberate Spanish territories from Spain beginning with the Cuban War for Independence
and eventually the Philippine Revolution. A section of the exhibit will be dedicated to
10th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army, nicknamed “Buffalo Soldiers” after their heavy
involvement in the Indian Wars, who shipped out from Tampa Bay before the Roosevelt
and the Rough Riders and were the first to fight in Cuba. It is important to highlight
these soldiers and the prejudices they faced during their stay in Tampa, as all too often
history becomes whitewashed or glorified, leaving important avenues unexplored.
Traffic will rotate clockwise around The Rough Ride to view the causes for the war, view
real paraphernalia and handle replica items for handson learning, and end with a look
at how it affected Latin American and the Philippines in the wake of the war.
Nov 2017: Appeal to Discovery Channel for the access to Mythbusters personalities and
involvement in the The Rough Ride to evade possible scheduling conflicts.
Jan 2017: Present proposal to Board Members.
Jan 2017: Do research on highincome donors and craft letter, email, and telephone
messages tailored to each.
Jan/Feb 2017: Pitch the Exhibition plans to Discovery Channel, Edmund Morris, and
Foundation and corporate donors (Microsoft application due by March)
Mar/May 2017: Receive responses from corporate donors and foundation contacts
May 2017 Email members with an overview of the project at hand
May/July 2017: Utilize social media, email, and the museum’s facility, phone app, and
website to reach out for potential donors
August 2017: Begin residency
January 2018: Send progress report emails and letters to all major donors and
May 2018: Launch Party for all members and donors held at the Tampa Bay History
Center’s TECO Hall, catering by Columbia.
June 2018: Exhibition is opened to the public.
Proposed Foundation Donors
National Park Foundation
Theodore Roosevelt, the face of the our new exhibit, established our National Park
System. The NPS has already established a presence in Florida with 7 national parks,
one of which, Desoto National Memorial, is iconically located in the Tampa Bay Area.
As a friendly neighbor, their contributions not only act as an homage to the man who
founded them, but also get free publicity by the locals and tourists who visit the
The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation (1575K Grant)
MGCF is known for their contributions toward Arts and Humanities and has donated to
the Smithsonian before in support of the National Museum of African American History
and Culture. Being a Smithsonian affiliated museum establishes a bridge of trust and
our spotlight on the African American Buffalo Soldiers for the sake of spreading
awareness of black achievements aligns with their past interests.
North American Railroad Foundation (110K Grant)
This nonprofit foundation, according to its website, serves “to educate about and
preserve the history of railroads in the United States” which falls in line with the largest
focal point of our exhibit, the Plant Systems train car. NARF insists on having direct
input on train projects they assist with for the sake of accuracy, which pairs a wealth of
valuable data and knowledge along with their grant.
Proposed Corporate Donors
Blackstone Group is a global investment firm with strong ties to the Tampa Bay
community. Most notably, they purchased BuschGardens, Tampa’s leading theme
park, from InBev (owners of AnheuserBusch). Promoting Tampa tourism helps them by
further attributing the AZA accredited Busch Gardens with education. Blackstone is
dedicated to inspiring entrepreneurship and, by aiding our youth via our education
programming and partnerships with Florida schools, they strengthen the future
Microsoft (Applications due by March & Oct. of each yr)
Microsoft is one of the leading creative forces on our planet and one utilized by TBHC,
as all of our computer programming stems from this company. Microsoft contributed
“$125 million for more than 18,000 nonprofits and schools across the globe” in 2015.
They strongly value education and recognize the benefits that nonprofit organizations
like us have on society.
Yuengling’s tagline is “America’s Oldest Brewery” which implies a certain appreciation
for history and were actually founded nearly sixty years prior to the SpanishAmerican
War. They have a brewery and distribution plant in Tampa Bay and are known to
partner with museums, history centers, and living collections for daily affairs and special
events. Yuengling has a lot to benefit by donating because their contribution helps get
the word out that this Pottsville, PA based brewery has a base in Tampa as well,
complete with brewery tours. Tourists who might not know this and find out via their
museum experience are now more likely to visit the brewery.
Sample Cover Letter: HighIncome Donor
Dear [DONOR’S NAME],
The Tampa Bay History Center is a Smithsonian affiliated institution in partnership with
the TampaHillsborough County Public Library System and a recipient of Silver LEED
certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for our environmental efforts. Our
facility is dedicated to sharing Central Florida history with over threemillion guests
annually through exciting exhibitions and stateoftheart educational content. As a
historical organization it is our duty and mission to provide a sense of place and pride
for diverse audiences of all ages through interactive educational programs and
One of the most important historical moments in Tampa Bay occurred at the dawn of
the SpanishAmerican War, involving black and white Americans, Latin Americans,
Europeans, and Asians as well. As an event whose wake was felt across the world, it is
important that tell the story of Tampa’s involvement as a strategic location during this
time. We are in the process of erecting a brand new exhibit featuring key figures,
moments, and ramifications of Tampa’s involvement in the SpanishAmerican War. This
exhibit will align with Florida and U.S. history standards, making it ideal for research and
field trip purposes.
As an active and distinguished member of the Tampa Bay community, we invite you to
take part in the creation of the exciting new exhibition and attraction, Roosevelt and the
Rough Ride: Tampa’s Role in the SpanishAmerican War. This exhibit details Tampa
Bay’s role as a training ground and launching port for American troops to Cuba and the
affects it had among a wide diversity of regions and cultures. To help this project take
shape, we are encouraging monetary gifts from valued individuals like you.
● Donate $1,000 or more and you will be invited to our Launch Party in May 2017,
be among the first to experience the exhibit, receive complimentary membership
for a year, and have your name recognized on the Bronze plaque of major
contributors at the front of the exhibit hall.
● Donate $5,000 or more and you will receive all benefits mentioned,
complimentary membership for you and your family for a year, and your name on
the Silver plaque of major contributors.
● Donate $10,000 and higher and you will receive all benefits mentioned,
complimentary lifetime memberships for you and your family, your name on the
Golden plaque of major contributors and all museum brochures.
All gifts are taxdeductible. The enclosed donation form must be completed and
submitted by August 31st, 2017. We cherish your time and support.
C.J. Roberts, President & CEO
Community Counselling Services. (2015). Snapshot of Today’s Philanthropic
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