Bringing the Past into the Future
We’ve all heard the expression, “The longest journey begins with but a single step.” This fall, the History Center is embarking on a long, sometimes arduous journey – one that will take a few years, cost a significant amount of money, and require hard work by a dedicated staff. It will also pave a path to an exciting future.
We’re redesigning and refurbishing our permanent exhibit galleries, a journey we’ve already begun. The result should be a History Center with new, compelling exhibits that will engage and reflect the community. We won’t just tell Central Florida’s history. We plan to paint a picture of the past as it relates to the present, and involve our community in preparing for the future.
To help us in this work, we have engaged Gerard Hilferty and Associates, an exhibit-design firm based in Athens, Ohio – the same company with whom we worked to create the History Center’s original exhibits 15 years ago. Hilferty won a national award for their work here, and our first-time visitors are still impressed with our exhibits. This company understands our community and is well placed to take us to the next level. In the next several months, we’ll work closely with its experts on a master plan and exhibit redesign for the History Center.
The master plan will outline how we deliver our message, and to whom. It will identify opportunities for outreach in the community (here’s a hint – we have many), and will look at how we deliver our guest experience and what we need to do to make it the best possible.
The exhibit-design process will follow the master plan. We don’t plan to remove and replace all of the exhibits in the History Center – some are still very good. But that doesn’t mean we can’t add more interactive and audio-visual elements to make them better.
Of course, this work for the future will not impede our commitment to providing a top experience for our members and guests today. To better align ourselves with other area museums, we’ve lowered our admission fees. We’ve also reduced membership fees. This is an important step in continuing our commitment to serve the community and make ourselves accessible to as many people as we can.
These are exciting times for the History Center. Stay involved and connected with us. Watch us on our journey to create a more dynamic and involved museum that will better serve the entire community.
Museum Manager, Orange County Regional History Center
Executive Director, Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc.