TAMPA, Florida — Ever wonder what happens inside a museum after its doors close at night? The Tampa Bay History Center wants to show you at this year's "Night at the Museum."

  • Characters from history, "Star Wars" taking part in event
  • Two sessions - 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • More information? Visit tampabayhistorycenter.org

Imperial Guards. TIE Fighter pilots. Storm Troopers. Cigar factory readers?

It's history ... with a little bit of fun thrown in.

Night at the Museum” lands at the Tampa Bay History Center on Sunday, October 14 at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Squad of the 501st Legion — a creative and talented volunteer group that dresses up like the bad guys from "Star Wars" movies for charitable events — will be staking out the History Center, enforcing the will of the Galactic Empire while also handing out candy to little goblins and ghouls visiting during the two sessions.

“Kids can go through trick-or-treat and have a blast doing that, but then they also learn a little bit about Florida history and Tampa history,” explained Manny Leto, Director of Marketing and Communications at the History Center.

History comes to life

Leto is wearing two hats this weekend. In addition to his directorial duties, he's dressing up at a lector, or a factory reader, from Ybor City in the early 1900s.

The lector read to cigar factory workers from a platform as they worked hand-rolling cigars.

“In a pre-radio and pre-television age, the lector was a form of entertainment,” explained Leto. “He would read the news of the day, keep them informed.”

During the event, museum will be filled with historical re-enactors as well as 501st Legion members on every floor, ready with candy, learning and fun.

The "real" Jedi mind-trick?

It’s all part of the History Center’s goal: jumping off the pages of history books and into “real life” so children can really experience Florida history.

“Also so they’re learning without realizing it,” said Leto.

That may be the ultimate Jedi mind trick.

(That's this thing in "Star Wars" where good guys use mind control to save the universe from bad guys. Oh, you knew that? OK, cool.)