The five-story Central Florida Regional History Center, in a former courthouse in the heart of downtown Orlando, concentrates on the story of Orange County and its six contiguous counties: Seminole, Brevard, Osceola, Polk, Lake and Volusia.
Every year, thousands visit the exhibits tracing the region’s history from the first indigenous peoples through the ups and downs of a thriving 21st century metropolitan center.
Fewer visit the real heart of the facility, the climate controlled archives preserving documents, photos, records and artifacts in formats ranging from books and artworks to tapes, films and hard drives.
As Oral Historian Dan Bradfield demonstrates, the facility offers unique primary documents of use to student and professional scholars.
Local documents, such as the well known and extremely detailed Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, City Directories and government records, are available for folks doing family history research.
Where else would you find a brochure from an early 20th century taxidermist who sold stuffed alligators, priced by the foot?
Since opening in 2000, the center has been a successful blend of professional staff and dedicated volunteers. Check out the opportunities at http://www.thehistorycenter.org/