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Bartow, Fla (August 31, 2022) — Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. The following programs and events are open to the public and free of charge:

  • Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 – Hispanic Heritage Month
    • The Polk County History Center and PGTV partner with the Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County to celebrate the diverse heritage of Polk County’s Hispanic community. 

This celebration will include an exhibit in the museum’s video gallery that features filmed stories from members of the Hispanic Community including Polk County Commissioner Martha Santiago and Congressman Darren Soto. The campaign will also include weekly social media content that revisits the influence of Spanish colonization across the Americas and the unique and lasting cultural traditions resulting from the Colombian exchange. 

  • Sept. 17 – Constitution Day
    • Observed annually on Sept. 17, Constitution Day celebrates American citizenship on the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787. 

Founded by Clara Vajda, a Hungarian immigrant, Constitution Day was first designated by the U.S. Congress as Citizenship Day on March 27, 1941, with the name and date changing in 2004.

Join us across our social media platforms all month long to learn more about the United States Constitution and citizenship in the United States.  

  • Sept. 17, 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 historic 1908 and 1926 windows. The architectural tour occurs at 11 a.m. the third Saturday of each month.
  • Sept. 20, 12 p.m., Lunch and Learn: “Made in Florida: Artists, Celebrities, Activists, Educators and Other Icons in the Sunshine State,” by Art Levy
    • For more than a decade, journalist Art Levy has traveled the state, interviewing prominent Floridians for a Florida Trend magazine feature called Icon. Join us as Levy introduces these icons, shares anecdotes from the interviews and entertains with his stories of his journey across Florida.

A graduate of the University of Florida’s journalism school, Art Levy joined Florida Trend in 2005. Previously he worked for newspapers including the Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Over the years, his stories have won more than 20 awards. 

This is an in-person program and reservations are not required – arrive early to get a great seat and don’t forget to bring a lunch. For more information, contact the History Center at (863) 534-4386.

  • Sept. 24, 10 a.m., Genealogy Speaker Series: “German Immigrant Waves: Contrasts and Sources,” by James M. Beidler
    • The 1700s “Pennsylvania Germans” were a different breed than the “German Americans” who immigrated in the 1800s. This presentation illustrates the differences in geography, economic class, religion and aspirations of the two great waves of German immigration. A review of the basics and sources of German genealogy is also included.

James M. Beidler, the interim executive director for the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, is the author of four commercially-published genealogy books. He also writes for “Roots & Branches,” an award-winning weekly genealogy publication. As a lecturer, Beidler was part of the acclaimed Commonwealth Speakers Program from 2002-2009 for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. 

Reservations are required. For Zoom details, contact Preston Petermeier at (863) 534-4604 or PrestonPetermeier@polk-county.net

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 www.polkhistorycenter.org or call (863) 534-4386 for more information on exhibits and programming. All programs and events are free and open to the public.

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