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LAKELAND, FL (November 16, 2021) – The Lakeland History and Culture Center is currently being constructed at the Lakeland Main Library (100 Lake Morton Drive). Once completed, the new 1,400 square foot space will feature visually appealing exhibits with narratives that tell Lakeland’s story.  The Inaugural exhibit, opening in Spring of 2022, will outline the importance of the railroad and how it was a core component that helped shape Lakeland’s early history.  The self-guided story will be told using display graphics, artifacts, narratives, and interactive touch screens.  A portion of the Lakeland History and Culture Center’s curated budget for displays is sponsorship driven with charter organizations and members of the community contributing to the space.  The Lakeland History and Culture Center Committee has been busy fundraising and the group is very close to reaching their goal.  Charter members who contribute $500 or more to the project will have their name or company’s name on the donor wall that will greet visitors as they enter the Lakeland History and Culture Center.  The deadline for being a part of the donor wall is December 31, 2021. 

The History and Culture Center will feature many stories that connect the community. The vision for this project emerged over three years ago with discussions about acquiring a space to capture and share Lakeland’s unique history.  The initiative was led by City Commissioner Phillip Walker and supported by many community leaders.  The initiative received unanimous support from the Lakeland City Commission in 2019 to build an exhibit space at the City’s Main Library.  Two years later the initiative that started as an idea is well under way with a grand opening planned to take place Spring 2022.  The dedicated exhibit space will share inclusive stories about the people and events that contributed to Lakeland’s culturally diverse history. The new space at the Lakeland library will also feature exclusive programming specifically related to the exhibits on display to help bring a broader understanding of the content

The Main Library also houses the Lakeland History Room. Once the library fully re-opens, this resource area will have trained staff to assist visitors with their search for Lakeland history and genealogical inquiries. The unique collection of materials in the history room includes local high school and college yearbooks, directories, maps, genealogical materials, property plans, artifacts, photographs and personal materials of local leaders and pioneers.  There is even a DIY Digitize Space that will be available as a dedicated workplace for visitors to reformat older analog materials like video tapes, cassette tapes and photographs to newer digital formats. LuAnn Mims, Librarian Supervisor whose duties include overseeing the History Room said, “The preservation of Lakeland’s history is important.  Staff at the library encourages members of the public to donate items related to Lakeland’s history for safekeeping.  Assets become part of the special collection and can be used to further tell Lakeland’s story.” For more information on the History and Culture Center and to donate to the cause, please visit www.lakelandgov.net/culturecenter.

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