September Happenings at the History Center

Bartow, Fla. (Aug. 29, 2017) – 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:

  • September’s Family Programs – Family History
    • Humans have long had a natural curiosity to understand their history/origins, etc. Creating a family tree using paper and pencil has been a popular practice for thousands of years. Today, advances in technology allow people to track their ancestors using the 23 chromosomes that create our genotype. DNA has a double helix structure. Much like a spiral staircase, it has two single strands that join and twist together. Get artsy and create an origami version of DNA in the Discovery Room.
  • Sept. 16, 10 a.m. – World War I Commemoration at Oak Hill Cemetery
    • The Polk County Historical Commission will sponsor a World War I commemoration at historic Oak Hill Cemetery in Bartow to clean the headstones of seven World War I veterans interred there. The commemoration will include a memorial program to honor the veterans of World War I. This year is the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the great war. Also on this date at 7 a.m. in 1917, the men of Lakeland’s Company D marched to the train station, with most of Lakeland attending to see them off to war. By October 1917, the men were part of the 124th Infantry and assigned to the 31st Division.
  • Sept. 16, 11 a.m. - Architectural Tour
  • Sept. 19, 12:15 to 1 p.m. - Lunch and LearnBefore You Test: DNA Basics You Need to Know
    • Genealogy coach Drew Smith presents, “Before You Test: DNA Basics You Need to Know.” This lecture aims to provide information that will help to avoid wasting time and money by learning which type of DNA test to take for the information you are seeking, and exactly what you can expect to get as a result. Drew Smith is an assistant librarian with the USF Tampa Library and is the 2016 winner of the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship, presented by the National Genealogical Society. He is past president of the Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa and has served on the boards of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Florida State Genealogical Society. Smith wrote “Social Networking for Genealogists,” is the co-author of “Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques,” and has written extensively for a number of genealogical print and online magazines. His latest book, “Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher,” has recently debuted.
  • Book Club recommended reading for the month of September is, “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA,” by Brenda Maddox.
    • Her photographs of DNA were called, "Among the most beautiful X-ray photographs of any substance ever taken," but physical chemist Rosalind Franklin never received due credit for the crucial role the photographs played in the discovery of DNA's structure. After beginning her research career in postwar Paris, Franklin moved to Kings College, London, where her photographs of DNA were made. The photos were shown, without her knowledge, to James Watson, who recognized that they indicated the shape of a double helix and rushed to publish the discovery; with colleagues Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Deeply unhappy at Kings, Rosalind left in 1953 for another lab, where she did important research on viruses, including polio. Her career was cut short when she died of ovarian cancer at age 37.
  • Join us for a family friendly architectural tour of the History Center and learn more about neoclassical architecture, the construction of the building and the stories behind the iconic Old Polk County Courthouse with special emphasis on the courthouse cupola and domes. The architectural tour is on the third Saturday of each month at 11 a.m.

•          Holiday Closing

The History Center will close on Saturday, Sept. 2 in observance of Labor Day. The History Center will re-open at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5.

About the Polk County History Center: The Polk County History Center is located at 100 E. Main St. in Bartow and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visit or call (863) 534-4386 for more information on exhibits and programming. All events and programming are free and open to the public. 

Polk County Seal

The Polk County Board of County Commissioners is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

Polk County Board of County Commissioners