The development and birth of the Orange County Regional History Center is perhaps unlike any other local history museum in the United States. Its story is worth telling because of its long gestation, the difficulties in bringing this center to life, and the goals of the people who made it possible. All of these elements are a vital part of the history of Orange County, Florida and should not be overlooked.
In this light, this thesis will discuss more fully three topics in relation to the creation of the new History Center. First, it will look at the American museum field and its role as a community-building enterprise in American society. Second, it will examine the history of Central Florida, a region that sorely lacks a strong sense of community. Third, it will trace the transformation of the Orange County Historical Society and Museum from a small volunteer-run museum into the Orange County Regional History Center, the largest history museum in Central Florida.
The ultimate goal of the History Center is to foster a sense of community in a region with little feeling of connectedness. This community building goal has evolved from both a renewed emphasis on community service in the museum field, and the desire of the History Center's leaders and staff to serve more effectively the Central Florida region. My thesis tells the story of the history and development of the Regional History Center, an institution dedicated to bringing the diverse community of Central Florida together for discussion, dialogue, and reflection. It also identifies some of the new roles and functions it must assume in the future and the new tasks that await it as it strives to become more useful and relevant to its community. In that way, and through that resource, the institution can help build the foundation for a more promising future for present and future residents of Orange County.
Leckie, Shirley A.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Written permission granted by copyright holder to the University of Central Florida Libraries to digitize and distribute for nonprofit, educational purposes.
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Beatty, Robert L. II, "Legacy To the People: Community and the Orange County Regional History Center" (2002). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 1449.