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February Happenings at the History Center

Published on Jan 30, 2020

Bartow, Fla (January 30, 2020) -- Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. The following programs and events are open to the public and free of charge:

February’s Family Program – Curators of Curiosity - All Month
To celebrate the season of love and the return of warmer weather, come make a love bug - just watch out for its bite.
History Time Tots, a story and activity time, designed for ages 5 and under, will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 1 and 11. February’s topic will be love and friendship.

February is Black History Month
Discover black history in multiple Polk County History Center exhibits through a special Black History Month guide and take special note of the vital contributions made by Polk’s black population to the early development of the county. Pick up a complimentary copy of, “The Florida Black Heritage Trail,” and expand your knowledge of black history beyond the borders of Polk.

Feb. 1, 11 a.m. - Oak Hill Cemetery Tour

Oak Hill Cemetery is a historic cemetery in Bartow which was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The early gravesites date to 1860, and people interred there include Confederate Gen. Evander M. Law, Bartow land donor Jacob Summerlin, and Polk County pioneer settlers like the Blount, Parker and Varn families. The tour starts at the History Center with a short walk of about one mile that includes historic landmarks along the route to the cemetery. The cemetery ground is uneven and visitors are advised to wear appropriate footwear. The cemetery tour is offered at 11 a.m. the first Saturday of every month, November through April.

Feb. 6, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Polk County History Day Competition at the Polk County History Center
Students from Polk County schools will participate in the 21st Annual Polk County History Day competition. This year’s theme is “Breaking Barriers in History.” Part of a national initiative, History Day engages students and teachers in historical research and skills development. The History Center will remain open for public visitors; however, please anticipate larger crowds and reduced parking around the building. Additional parking is available at the Oaks parking lot south of the Bartow post office, between Central Avenue and Wilson Avenue at East Parker Street.

Feb. 15, 11 a.m. – Architectural Tour
Join us for an architectural tour of the History Center and learn about neoclassical architecture, the construction of the building and the stories behind the iconic Old Polk County Courthouse. This month’s tour includes special emphasis on how items needed for construction were lifted from the ground floor to the ceiling. The architectural tour is on the third Saturday of each month at 11 a.m.

Feb. 18, 12:15 to 1 p.m. – Democratic Dialogue Speaker Series: Census: Fact vs Fiction
The second installment in our new monthly Democratic Dialogue Speaker Series will focus on the U.S. Census. It’s almost time for the U.S. Census again. But what exactly does that mean and why is the Census important and nothing to fear? Chanda Bennett of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners and Kim Long from Polk Vision, who are members of the Polk County Complete Count Census Committee, will lead us in discussion.

Feb. 27, 5:30 to 6:30p.m. – Book Banter: Politics at Play
Do you love to babble about books, or feel the need to chatter about chapters? Here at the Polk County History Center, we have the solution: join our monthly book club. Each month during the 2020 election year, we will read books about major topics in our country’s history and current events.

Join us this February as we talk about, Civil Disobedience,” by Henry David Thoreau. First published in 1849, Civil Disobedience is a call for every citizen to value his conscience above his government. Within this 19th century essay, Thoreau argues that individuals should not allow their government to control their minds, otherwise they risk becoming agents of injustice.

Feb. 29, 10 a.m. – Genealogy Speaker Series – “Digital Resources for History and Genealogy,” by LuAnn Mims, Lakeland Public Library
Join us in the 1926 Courtroom for the monthly Genealogy Speaker Series. This month will feature LuAnn Mims, the special collections librarian at the Lakeland Public Library, who will talk about using digital resources in your research. Call (863) 534-4604 if you have any questions and to reserve your seat.

The Polk County History Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 100 E. Main St. in Bartow. Visit or call (863) 534-4386 for more information on exhibits and programming. All programs and events are free and open to the public.