Florida History: A Review of the Literature

Last week of my class was not only the halfway mark, but focused on Florida history and local history.  We explored several sites and programs.  This is more of a review of the resources available to Floridians to learn about the history and culture of the state than it is a literature review, but I’m sticking with that name.

Florida Association of Museums program Connecting with Collections is sponsored by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  It is meant to help teach and share collection management and development policy and expertise with other museum and library workers.  For those who work in museums or libraries that have cultural collections, this is a great program.  The FAM in general is a great resource for museum and library workers to connect with one another and to help patrons find museums and cultural centers in their area.

Florida on Florida put out by the Florida Electronic Library is ” a catalog of digital materials related to Florida. It includes all sorts of items including maps, photographs, postcards, books, and manuscripts. The materials in Florida On Florida come from digital collections held by libraries, archives, museums and historical societies throughout Florida.”  The list includes USF Libraries Digital Collections, University of Florida Digital Collections, Winter Park Public Library Digital Collection, World War I Service Cards, Bay County Public Library Photo Collections, and many more archive collections.  All of these are great resources for history students of all ages, amatuer or professional historians, geneologists, and anyone else interesting in researching and learning more about Florida Heritage.

Florida State Genealogical Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1977.  It was founded to “promote the study and research of genealogy and local history.”  There mission is “inspire and promote awareness and appreciation of genealogy, family history and Florida heritage.”  This group is great for those researching their genealogy or local history, and for those library programs that assist in this venture.

Florida Heritage Trails began in 1991 with the Black Heritage Trail.  “Since then, additional titles in the series include the Cuban, Women’s, Jewish, World War II, Native American and Florida Spanish Colonial Heritage Trails. The newest title, the Florida Civil War Heritage Trail, was published in the summer of 2011.”  These are valuable resources for school media specialists, academic librarians, and reference librarians helping with history projects.  It’s also great for teachers to design classes around.  A classmate suggested exploring this information online, and then visiting these places.  This would make a great family summer trip.  Exploring a different trail every year would be a great way to teach your children about Florida history.  Another suggested lessons for children and teens followed up by trivia to test what they learned.  Both are great ideas for using the Heritage Trails.

Florida Historical Society is centered around preservation of Florida Heritage sites.  Founded in 1856 and reorganized in 1902, the society’s purpose is to provide a forum for professionals and amateurs interested in Florida history.  They even have their own library.  The Society is great for historians, archivists, genealogists, teachers and librarians to assists in providing information to those that need it.

Historical Museum of Southern Florida is “dedicated to telling the story of South Florida and the Caribbean, in order to create a better quality of life by understanding the past, linking it to the present and building a better future.”  With a research center, a non-circulating library, and archives are open to museum visitors and a store sells unique Florida themed gifts.  The Museum provides resources for those researching Southern Florida History.  The museum is also accredited by the American Association of Museums.

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