Search one of the largest genealogical collections in the southeastern United States:

Polk County Heritage Trail

The Polk County History Center serves as the hub of the Polk County Heritage Trail. From our outstanding library resources to fascinating museum exhibits, we are the perfect place to start your research and learn more about local history. The History Center also connects visitors to area organizations, historical societies, research venues, and historic sites to highlight the valuable resources in local communities across the county. Stop by the History Center and start your journey on the Heritage Trail!

April 21 Lunch & Learn - Bob Grenier "Central Florida's Civil War Veterans"

Author Bob Grenier discusses his latest book, “Central Florida’s Civil War Veterans.” Grenier’s talk explores the experiences of veterans and their families who settled in Florida during the Reconstruction period. Mr. Grenier is Curator of the Lake County Historical Museum and vice mayor of Tavares. Research materials at the History Center are featured in the book. The event is free and open to the public - grab your lunch and join us!

April 21, 12:15 to 1 p.m. - History Center, Bartow

Dive Into Local History With Our New Interactive Water Kiosk

A new interactive kiosk featuring water themes is now in place in the Community Gallery. The kiosk is sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and in conjunction with a new upcoming Smithsonian exhibit about the human experience with water. The History Center produced content highlighting Polk’s special connection to water, recounting the stories of Kissengen Spring and Cypress Gardens. Once finished with a tour through the exhibits, stop by the Historical & Genealogical Library located on the second floor of the History Center and learn more about Polk County's unique waterways and sites.

April 7 & 14 Book Club - Bob Grenier's Central Florida's Civil War Veterans

It's time for Book Club again and this month's installment focuses on the years following the Civil War. We will be reading "Central Florida’s Civil War Veterans" by Bob Grenier. As we near the sesquicentennial of the conclusion of the Civil War, we will explore the experiences of local veterans and their families who settled in Florida during the Reconstruction period.

Book Club is free and open to the public - join us for good books and conversation!

April 7 and 14, 12:15 to 1 p.m. - Polk County History Center, Bartow

Archaeology the subject of March 17 Lunch and Learn

March is Florida Archaeology Month and to celebrate, Jeff Moates, director of the West Central Regional Center of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, will present research featuring our state’s rich archaeological resources. The event will take place in the 1926 courtroom (second floor) and is free and open to the public. Grab your lunch and learn more about Florida's heritage!

March 17, 12:15 to 1 p.m. – Lunch and Learn: “Innovators of the Archaic”
The Lunch and Learn lecture series is held the third Tuesday of every month, January through November.

Family Fun Day - March 14

Looking for a fun family spring outing? Wear green to the History Center’s March Family Fun Day as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and all things green. Try out your green thumb and plant a seed in a pot you design or create your own unique lucky charm bracelet. The event is free and open to the public.

Family Fun Day activities take place the second Saturday of every month from 10:00am - noon at the History Center.

March Book Club at the History Center - March 3 & 10

March is right around the corner and it's time for Book Club at the History Center. On March 3 and March 10 we will be reading ‘A Separate Country’ by Robert Hicks, based on the incredible life of Confederate War general John Bell Hood. Join us for good fun and great lunchtime conversation!

The book club meets at the History Center the first two Tuesdays every month from 12:15pm - 1:00pm. Free and open to the public.

Research Projects? Visit the History Center Library

Researching a history project for school or tracking down genealogy info on your family? Simply want to know more about the unique history of Polk County? Stop by the History Center’s Historical & Genealogical Library – we have the keys to help you get started on your research endeavors! We are open Tuesday through Saturday, 9am. until 5pm.

Baseball is the topic of Book Club at the History Center February 3 and 10

In February, we will slide into the history of baseball in “The Summer of 68” by Tim Wendell. In 1968, amid the challenges of national tragedy and social unrest, baseball greats like Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, and Al Kaline propelled the Detroit Tigers to the World Series.
The book club meets at the Polk County History Center the first two Tuesdays every month – 12:15pm to 1:00pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Tour of Oak Hill Cemetery February 7

Attention history and genealogy fans - mark your calendars for the first weekend in February. The Polk County History Center will host a walking tour of the historic Oak Hill Cemetery in Bartow. Many pioneer families are buried in this cemetery, including Civil War veterans Jacob Summerlin and Gen. Evander M. Law. The tour begins at the History Center at 11:00 a.m. and is offered the first Saturday of every month, January – April 2015. The event is free and open to the public.

February 7 , 11 a.m. – Cemetery Tour