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Orange County Regional History Center – Taking a Step Back in Time

Have you ever wanted to travel through time? Here’s your chance. Go on a wild adventure through history at the Orange CountyRegional History Center!

In 1942, as part of the Central Florida Centennial Celebration, the Orange County Regional History Center opened its doors to the public as a “pioneer kitchen exhibit” in the old red brick, 1892 Orange County Courthouse. The exhibit was so popular that it remained open and, as time went on, local Central Florida residents began to donate historical items, such as: books, photos, memorabilia, and much more. The once small pioneer kitchen exhibit slowly expanded to fill the rooms of the old Courthouse. In 1957, the building was slated for demolition, so several of the historical collections had to be moved to storage.

The History Center moved around three additional times before permanently settling in its present-day location in the 1927 vacated Courthouse on the corner of Central Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue in Orlando.

In 2000, with the help of the Orange County Historical Society, Inc., the old Courthouse was brought back to life as the Orange County Regional History Center. The Orange County Historical Society, now known as the Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc., oversees the History Center in partnership with the Orange County Board of County Commissioners.

Generating great excitement in the community, the History Center was designated an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006, and was also accredited by the American Association of Museums.

Today, the Orange County Regional History Center displays numerous historical collections from the Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc. and boasts three floors dedicated to permanent and traveling exhibitions, including: “Pioneer Cracker Home,” “Cattle and Citrus,” and “The Road to Modern Orlando.”

The Orange County Regional History Center has something for everyone young and old. A variety of educational programs are offered every day of the week, such as “Discovery Days,” which includes “Tea Time in Boston,” where kids can learn about the famous Boston Tea Party.

One of the most popular programs offered by the History Center is “Galactic Encounter Day.” Kids build their own lightsaber, sip on “Blue Milk,” and satisfy their taste buds with out-of-this-world “Wookie Cookies.” Paul Wenglowsky, curator of education at the History Center, notes that forty to sixty Stormtroopers march into the History Center during this time. “Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and the Empire take over the building for a day!” he says. “We have over a thousand people that come through the doors just to experience that.”

On September 9, 2012, families will enjoy, “What’s Your Story,” a special event that gives kids the chance to explore their families’ heritage, while celebrating Grandparents’ Day.

Weekend family programs are very popular. “We have what’s known as our “Family Adventure Day,” and the “Family Camp-In,” when parents and children can sleep inside the museum,” comments Wenglowsky. “Our next program will be offered on November 30, 2012 and is based on our exhibit, Peanuts…Naturally. The exhibit is about ecology, conservation, and the importance of recycling, reducing, and reusing. The Peanuts characters help explain those concepts in the exhibit.”

The Orange County Regional History Center provides to the Central Florida community a safe, educational, one-of-a-kind place where history comes to life.

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Fun Fact: The Orange County Regional History Center broke the World Record for the most people yo-yoing at one time in 2008.

Family Event:

Galactic Encounter Day
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Stormtroopers reclaim the History Center for the Empire! Galactic Encounter Day is included with general admission to the History Center.

New Exhibit:

Peanuts…Naturally
September 29-December 31, 2012
Organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California.
Explore the “web of life” through Peanuts comic strips, educational materials, and fun activities.

Location:
65 East Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801

Visiting Hours:

  • Monday-Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Sunday: Noon – 5 pm

General Admission Prices:

  • Adults: $9
  • Seniors (60+): $7
  • Students & Military: $7 (with valid ID)
  • Children (Ages 5-12): $6
  • Children (Ages 4 and under): Free
  • Members: Free
  • Orange County Employees: Free
  • OCPS Teachers: Free

**For more information on the Orange County Regional History Center, please call: (407) 836-8500 or (800) 965-2030. Also, visit: http://thehistorycenter.org/

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