This month, Executive Director, Donnita Dampier is celebrating 11 years with the Osceola County Historical Society. Dampier has made it her mission to preserve Osceola County history and to educate the county’s residents and visitors about the area’s cultural and natural gifts. She works closely with city and county officials, and is often found championing the cause of history.
As the quarter moon rises over Downtown Kissimmee on Friday October 27th, the Osceola County Historical Society will whisk you away on a spirited lantern-lit ghost tour. As your host guides you through the twilit streets, you will hear spine-tingling tales of some of Kissimmee’s dearly and infamously departed residents. Look and listen carefully, because you never know where you might encounter a spook or two. This 45-minute, kid-friendly adventure will be the perfect ‘trick’ to your Boo! On Broadway treats. This event is $10 for adults, and $5 for children 12 and under. Sign up now, before this terror-ific offer passes away.
This week Osceola County School District will welcome its students back to the hallowed halls of classrooms all across the County. As students gear up for another year of learning, the Osceola County Historical Society is preparing the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek and the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum for field trips and independent student visits. OCHS offers many learning opportunities for students of all ages, from Living History at the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek to guided tours of the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum complete with private art lessons inspired by the current temporary exhibit.
The Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Experience Kissimmee and X Factor Institute offers an amazing program to local hospitality businesses called the Kissimmee is Me Ambassador. This free program gives area businesses an opportunity to make lasting connections with each other, as well as a chance to learn some tried and true customer service techniques.
The Silver Spurs Riding Club was formed in 1941. They quickly became popular in the region and across the state of Florida. The Spurs were known for their exceptional skill and riding tricks, especially the Quadrille, a square dance performed on horseback.
Jozef Bladek has been greeting locals and visitors at the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum since December 2016. In addition to his role as museum attendant, Jozef conducts tours of the History Museum, participants in outreach programs, assists with the smooth operations of exhibit openings and recently, he has added Pioneer Village field tripattendant to his repertoire.
Jozef respects and appreciates Florida’s history, and enjoys talking to guests about their historical knowledge.
JB: When I first started working, an older gentleman came in. We talked for about an hour just on citrus. As a young adult, he had been a truck driver that picked up citrus through out Kissimmee. He said U.S. 192 was all citrus groves lining the road, before Disney, of course. Now you look around and all you see is people and not a single bit of citrus. Another thing I thought was interesting was meeting some of the Cadman Family descendants.
Larissa Bixby asked Jozef a series of questions, in the hopes of getting to know the young man who works the front desk at the museum. This is what she found out:
Every third Thursday of the month the Osceola County Historical Society hosts an interactive reading event. Gather around the fireplace at the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum to listen to a carefully chosen children’s book, whose theme compliments our current temporary exhibit. After storytelling by the fireplace, we move into the Buster Kenton Room to let our creative side run loose as we craft a themed art project. While our event is targeted towards children ages 3 to 6, we welcome kids of all ages to join in the fun of Story Time at the Museum.
In the last weeks of Florida Archaeology Month, let’s talk beads. Beads are an important part of Native American cultures. The size, shape, color, and material of beads denotes status in many native cultures. Early beads found in Florida and the greater Eastern coastal region were made from clay, bone and shell. Clay and bone beadswere the easiest to make and became the most abundant. However, beads from the quahog clam, wampum, was also popular on the Eastern coast. The mostly white shell of the quahog has shades of light to deep purple around its edges; the amount of purple varies from shell to shell, making the color rarer and worth twice the amount of white wampum. Purple wampum designated their wearer as powerful, wealthy, and important in the community.
White Wampum, Interior of Quahog Shell, Purple Wampum
Toe tapping and finger snapping aren’t usually something you’d do at an exhibit opening, unless that opening is about music, or in our case, the bands of Osceola County. At the opening reception we welcomed former band director, Larry O’Grady, who spoke about his days at Denn John and Osceola High School. The reception guests were also treated to a performance by a few of the members of OHS drum line.
Field Trips are a great way for students to experience their lessons with immersive encounters of the subject of study. Living History field trips sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and Duke Energy are an excellent example of these encounters. Students are transported to the 1880s-1890s at the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek, where docents, dressed in period costume, guide students through Osceola County’s past.