Polk County Historical Museum



The Polk County Historical Association is an active supporter of the Polk County History Center located in the Old Polk County Courthouse, 100 East Main Street in Bartow, Florida. The History Center houses the Historical Museum and the Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library.


Historical Museum

Since the Museum opened its doors on September 19, 1998, it has served Polk County through special events and educational programs. Its collection includes natural and cultural objects related to Polk and the greater Central Florida area that represent our history from pre-Columbian to present day eras. Objects vary from fossils to hand-made personal objects such as clothing and art, as well as tools and equipment designed for agriculture, military, communications, household and science use. The Polk County History Center is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. 

The Museum is open Tues. through Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. In addition to the exhibits, the historic 1926 courtroom and other areas of the museum are available for private and community rental. For more information visit https://www.polk-county.net/history-center.

Historical and Genealogical library

The Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library was first opened to the public in January of 1940. It has one of the largest genealogical collections in the Southeast United States. For more information call (863) 534-4380 or visit https://www.polk-county.net/history-center/historical-and-genealogical-library

The Historical and Genealogical Library is a part of the Polk County Library Cooperative. An on-line catalog is available on their web site at http://mypclc.org

How you can support the Museum

Help us support these programs with a donation to the Stephen Schmidt Fund. The fund was established to honor Mr. Schmidt, the first curator of the Polk County Historical Museum. Since it is maintained as an internal fund of the Polk County Historical Association, contributions are tax-deductible. Please make checks payable to the Polk County Historical Association and earmark the check with “Stephen Schmidt Fund.”

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