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October Happenings at the History Center

Published on Oct 2, 2020

Bartow, Fla (Oct. 1, 2020) -- Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. The following programs and events are to be held virtually and are open to the public and free of charge:

  • Oct. 20, 12:15 p.m., Democratic Dialogue Speaker Series,The Electoral College: What, Who, and Why?” – Zoom Streaming Event

Learn about our country’s Electoral College, with Political Science Professor Edward Smith from Polk State College. Smith will explain the origins, development and the pros and cons in light of democratic principles. Contact Lois Sherrouse-Murphy at the Polk County History Center, (863) 534-4386 or, for details on how you can participate in this presentation.

  • Oct. 23, New Smithsonian Institution Exhibit Opens, “Voices & Votes: Democracy in America”

As part of a partnership with The Smithsonian Institution and Florida Humanities, this new traveling exhibit opens Oct. 23 and will be on display through Dec. 4.

Our democracy demands action, reaction, vision, and revision as we continue to question how to form a more perfect union. How do you participate as a citizen? From the revolution and suffrage to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story—the story of our American democracy. The exhibition explores historic events and poses thought provoking questions for today’s citizens. The exhibit’s local component includes a story kiosk, that features individuals from our county who have unique backgrounds and experiences with voting that are important and should be shared.

The "Voices & Votes: Democracy in America” exhibit and related programming are brought to you by Florida Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution. We would also like to thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership. Local support has been provided by PalletOne Inc.

  • Oct. 24, 3 p.m., Hail to The Trail, a Celebration of Camp Mack as a Historical Site on the Polk County Heritage Trail

In collaboration with Camp Mack, a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort in Lake Wales, a ribbon cutting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at 14900 Camp Mack Road. The event celebrates the addition of the area to the Polk County Heritage Trail. An outdoor exhibit will debut that celebrates the history of the Kissimmee River Valley. Topics include Seminole and Native American people, early pioneers, military history, fishing camps and the steamboat and cattle industries. Other activities planned include a Florida Barbeque Association BBQ Contest, BBQ Vendors, and live music. Learn more at

  • Oct. 31, 10 a.m., Genealogy Speaker Series, “Carved in Stone,” by Shelby Bender In Zoom Format

Shelby Bender, president and executive director of the East Hillsborough Historical Society in Plant City, will present “Carved in Stone,” a program that includes the history, care, and preservation of cemeteries.

An eighth generation Floridian, Bender has co-authored four books on Plant City history and Tampa’s historic cemeteries. She has conducted numerous workshops and seminars related to various historical and genealogical topics.

This is the final Genealogy Speaker Series program for the 2020 calendar year. The Speaker Series will resume in January 2021, and continue to take place at 10 a.m. the last Saturday of the month.

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

  • Oct. 14, 2:30 p.m. – The Polk County Historical Commission and Marker Committee will meet in the Boardroom at the County Administration Building, 330 West Church Street, Bartow.

The meetings are open to the public and live streaming participation in Zoom is available. Contact Lois Sherrouse-Murphy at (863) 534-4386 or for details.

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.