Welcome to the Polk County History Center, home to the historical museum and genealogical library
The Polk County Historical Museum opened its doors on September 19, 1998, in the Old Polk County Courthouse, located in downtown Bartow. The Museum serves the Polk County Community through special events, volunteer opportunities, and educational programs. The Museum's exhibits and programs continue to grow and change as new information and artifacts become available
Polk County History Center - Museum Information & Fees
The museum is located in downtown Bartow at:
100 East Main Street (corner of Main & Broadway)
Bartow, Florida 33830
Follow the museum on Facebook & Twitter
Hours of Operation
Tuesday - Saturday 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Closed Sundays & Mondays
Admission to the museum is FREE to the public.
To preview a visit to the Polk County History Center, click the link below:
Special Events & Announcements
Spanish Pathways Exhibit:
The Spanish Pathways exhibit features the historical relationship between Florida and Spain. The exhibit is designed to complement Florida’s “Viva Florida 500” campaign, which celebrates 500 years of Florida history since the arrival of Ponce de Leon in 1513. The exhibit will be open through Summer, 2013. Flyer here: Spanish Pathways Opening 2013
Free Lunch and Learn speaker series at the Historical Museum:
The Polk County Historical Museum is introducing a “Lunch & Learn” series.
The museum invites guests to bring lunch up to the 1926 courtroom and listen to a guest speaker on the third Tuesday every month. Lectures will begin at 12:15 and last 45 - 60 minutes.
The program is free, just bring your own lunch!
The 2013 Lunch & Learn speakers & dates are here: Lunch & Learn 2013 Schedule
Family Fun Days:
Family Fun Day is a free event on the second Saturday of each month between 10:00am - noon. Children and their families can participate together in a new arts and crafts activity each month while learning about Polk County history.
Education / School Program
The History Center features a guided tour through the museum's exhibits. The program takes students through museum exhibits in a team learning exercise that will uncover information about Polk County and Florida history. For more information about this service please see the School Program page.
The History Center is an extraordinary venue for hosting group functions such as; conferences, weddings, receptions, or meetings. For more information about hosting an event at the History Center, see the Museum Rentals page or download the Museum Rental Brochure. Events with alcohol service require additional forms and insurance. Contact the History Center for more information.
Get involved with the History Center by volunteering. The History Center currently has several opportunities available to assist with organizing collections and greeting visitors. View a list of current opportunities.
The Polk County History Center's museum collection includes natural and cultural objects related to Polk County and the greater Central Florida area that represent our history from pre-Columbian to present day eras. For more information about the exhibitions or to view the virtual tour, please see the Museum Exhibitions page. For a list of special events and temporary exhibits at the museum click here Museum Exhibitions
Polk County History Center's Gift Shop
The History Center's Gift Shop offers a wide variety of books, specialty food items, and souvenirs. Some of these items can be ordered online. Call the museum office at (863) 534-4386 to inquire about item availability.
Send check or money order payable to:
Polk County History Center
Museum Gift Shop
100 East Main Street
Bartow, Florida 33830
Items will ship upon receipt of payment. Please allow 5-7 business days for shipping. There is a $5.95 shipping and handling charge applied to the order. You may also purchase package insurance for an additional $1.35.
For more information about the Polk County History Center please contact us by email, phone (863) 534-4386 or toll free 1-800-780-5346 ext.4386; or fax (863) 534-4387. Operating hours are Tuesday-Saturday between 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. (excluding holidays).