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February Happenings at the History Center

Published on Jan 29, 2021

Bartow, Fla (Jan. 29, 2020) -- Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. The following programs and events will be held virtually and are open to the public and free of charge:

  • February is Black History Month
    • Visit the Polk County History Center and discover the ways in which the history of the Black community continues to enrich Polk County. History Center staff will provide interested guests with a guide to Black history at the History Center and on the Heritage Trail. 


  • Feb. 6, 11 a.m., Oak Hill Cemetery Tour
    • Join our Curator of Education on a walking tour of the historic Oak Hill Cemetery in Bartow. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2003, the cemetery is awash with the memory of Polk pioneers beneath a canopy of live oak trees. The tour starts at the History Center with a short walk of about 1 mile and 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, Military Gallery Re-opens
    • Enjoy a revitalized experience in the History Center’s Military Gallery. Among the artifacts spanning from the Seminole Wars to Desert Storm, visitors will find new interpretive panels with stirring images that tell of exceptional bravery and sacrifice. 


  • Feb. 13, 11 a.m. to noon, Zoom & Vroom: Go West Polk Countian
    • Tune in and prepare to hit the road! The popular lunch and learn series is virtual this year and includes interactive elements designed to get you and your “Quaranteam” out exploring Polk County.


This month, point your compass west and prepare to explore Kathleen, Lakeland and Mulberry. Trek the edges of the Green Swamp, discover the history behind the Moorehead and Carpenter’s Home communities in Lakeland, find the hidden Coca-Cola bottles at Lake Mirror and imagine what Mulberry was like in 1976 when the United States of America celebrated its bicentennial.  


This program includes both a virtual component and a self-guided driving tour. To register or find out more information, contact Jayme Jamison at (863) 534-4381, or by email at

  • Feb. 16, 11 a.m., Architectural Tour
  • Join an architectural tour of the History Center and discover the neoclassical architectural elements that define this iconic Polk County landmark. This month’s tour will focus on the engineering technology used to facilitate construction of the courthouse in 1908. The architectural tour occurs at 11 a.m. the third Saturday of each month.


  • Feb. 27, 10 a.m., Genealogy Speaker Series: “Intermediate African American Research” by Annette Lyttle
    • This virtual presentation focuses on finding ancestors in Reconstruction-era records and Civil War military records, as well as records that help identify the last slave holder, which is key to being able to research enslaved ancestors. Learn how to assemble evidence from a number of sources to identify ancestors and provide a firm basis for further research.


Annette Burke Lyttle owns Heritage Detective, LLC, and provides professional genealogical services in research, education and writing. She speaks on a variety of genealogical topics at the national, state and local levels and also coordinates courses at genealogical institutes. Annette is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists.


Reservations are required. For Zoom details, contact Preston Petermeier at (863) 534-4604 or


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.