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March Happenings at the History Center

Published on Feb 26, 2021

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:

  • March 1-31 - Women’s History Month
    • Visit the Polk County History Center and discover the ways women influenced the course of history in Polk County and across our nation. Explore both Very Much A Lady: Lifestyle and Fashion of the Proper Woman, 1900-1920 and The 19th Amendment at 100 Years: A Milestone of Democracy for Women’s Suffrage.
    • Both exhibits are enhanced with the addition of the dynamic window poster display; Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence, based on the National Portrait Gallery exhibition of the same name. Votes for Women was one of the most popular and recognizable slogans used by the women’s suffrage movement. The poster display addresses women's political activism, explores the racism that challenged universal suffrage, and documents the ratification of the 19th Amendment. This display is provided by the Smithsonian Institution in partnership with Florida Humanities.
  • March 1-31 - March of Museums
    • The History Center joins the Florida Department of State in celebrating the variety and versatility of museums in our communities. This year, 160 museums and cultural organizations will unite to provide opportunities in which visitors can enjoy the museum experience all around Florida. Participating organizations in Polk include the Polk County History Center, Explorations V Children’s Museum, Florida Air Museum, Lake Alfred Historical Society Museum and Polk Museum of Art. Visit to learn more and discover the history that surrounds you.
  • March 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.
  • March 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Bloomin’ Arts Quilt Show
  • Quilts representative of all skill levels will be on display in the 1926 Courtroom as part of the 50th annual Bloomin’ Arts Festival in downtown Bartow. The History Center’s Medallion Quilt will be on display in the Rotunda. The quilt was a gift of Keightley Stringfellow, with hand quilting completed by Melody Clyatt. The medallion rosette uses more than 10,800 squares to recreate the tile decoration in the rotunda of the History Center. Though the Quilt Show is non-juried, visitors are asked to vote for their favorite quilt which receives a “People’s Choice Award.”
  • Social distancing and mask wearing is encouraged while inside the building. The number of visitors inside the building at any given time may be limited to achieve social distancing. Access will be monitored closely to insure a safe visitor experience.
  • March 13, 11 a.m. to noon, Zoom & Vroom: Florida Stories: Using Your Smartphone to Explore Historic Florida
    • Tune in and prepare to hit the road! Our popular lunch and learn series is virtual in 2021 and includes interactive elements designed to get you and your “Quaranteam” out exploring Polk County.
    • This month, we explore the Florida Stories phone app. Learn the history of some of Florida’s most unique small towns. The free walking tour app, developed by Florida Humanities, can be downloaded from all iOS and Android devices or viewed on their web app. On this special edition of Zoom & Vroom, we are looking at sites that can be day trips from Polk County. These include Lake Wales, Bartow, Ybor City, Tarpon Springs, Indian Rocks Beach, St. Petersburg and Bradenton. Trains, chickens, sponges and history … oh my!
    • This program includes both a virtual component and a self-guided driving tour. To register, or find out more information, contact Jayme Jamison at or (863) 534-4381.
  • March 20, 11 a.m., Architectural Tour
  • Join us for an architectural tour of the History Center and discover the neoclassical architectural elements that define this iconic Polk County landmark. This month, we focus on the restoration of the courthouse and the discovery of the original blueprints. The architectural tour begins at 11 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month.
  • March 27, 10 a.m., Genealogy Speaker Series: “Finding Your Revolutionary War Patriots” by Gayle Londeree
    • This program will provide methods for finding your Revolutionary War patriot, and how to prove their residence, service and the necessary evidence to join a lineage society such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution. You will be shown how to begin your family tree, how to mine the DAR databases and how to use FamilySearch and other useful record sources. This program is co-sponsored by the Lakeland Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
    • Gayle Londeree is a native of Indiana, but her parents were from Kentucky, and her ancestors have lived there since before it became a state. Londeree researched her own family tree for more than 40 years. She has attended National Genealogical Society conferences and done genealogical research at libraries and archives in Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Indiana, Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City. She has 60 verified DAR patriot lines through both her father and mother and serves on the Florida State Society DAR state application team. She is a member of the Imperial Polk Genealogical Society, the Jamestowne Society and First Families of Kentucky.
    • This is a hybrid meeting with both Zoom and in-person options. In-person attendance is limited to 20. Registration is required. To register, contact Preston Petermeier at (863) 534-4604 or
  • March 11, 2:30 p.m. – The Polk County Historical Commission and Marker Committee will meet in the Board Room at the County Administration Building 330 W. Church St., Bartow. The meetings are open to the public.

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.