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Contact: Mark Ard
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PRESS RELEASE: Secretary Byrd Encourages Floridians to Celebrate National Historic Preservation Month 2023


Today, Secretary of State Cord Byrd announced a statewide initiative and public programs to celebrate National Historic Preservation Month, which takes place each May. This year’s theme from the National Trust for Historic Preservation is “People Saving Places,” and Florida’s efforts will focus on historic resource surveys, the primary tool for identifying and gathering data on a community’s resources to better understand their significance in local, state, and national history.

“Identifying and documenting Florida’s historic resources is critical to understanding our state’s history,” said Secretary of State Cord Byrd. Historic resource surveys are the fundamental building block of historic preservation. National Historic Preservation Month is the perfect opportunity to emphasize the importance of historic resource surveys in documenting places that are important to all Floridians.”

 View of an exterior corridor at Florida Southern College, in Lakeland, Florida, designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, 2022

Floridians can participate in this year’s National Historic Preservation Month efforts in the state by documenting historic properties in their own communities using the online Preservation Month Historic Resource Form located at: Using the form, citizens can supply basic information about historic structures, such as their location, history, and photographic documentation of the resource. This effort aims to increase awareness about how historic resources in Florida are recorded and entered into the Florida Master Site File—Florida’s official inventory of historical and cultural resources.

In recent years, organizations in large and small Florida communities, such as Arcadia, Fort Lauderdale, Havana, and Lake Wales, have received grants from the Division of Historical Resources (DHR) to conduct historic resource surveys. Additionally, in 2021, DHR contracted with consultants to survey and record historic structures in counties affected by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle, one of the least surveyed areas in the state. These surveys, conducted in Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty, and Wakulla counties, resulted in more than 13,000 additional historic structures being recorded in the Florida Master Site File. The variety of historic resources captured by these surveys illustrate the development of communities in the Florida Panhandle region, and the information contained within the surveys can now assist state and local governments in decision making regarding historic resources and future development. 

National Historic Preservation Month is a campaign led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. DHR uses this initiative as an opportunity to showcase ways in which the division works year-round to promote and protect Florida’s historic places. Historic preservation improves our quality of life and contributes to our understanding of each other and the diverse heritage of our state. Preservation of historic sites and properties also benefits Florida’s economy, drawing locals and visitors to support their favorite local venues and historic places.

For more information about National Historic Preservation Month or about the National Trust for Historic Preservation, visit:

The Department of State will be celebrating National Historic Preservation Month by encouraging citizens to help document historic structures using the online form and by offering a series of events throughout May 2023. See a list of Tallahassee events below. Floridians are also encouraged to engage with local historic preservation organizations to learn more about events and activities in their communities.


Listing of National Historic Preservation Month 2023 Events:

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Senior Archaeologist Jerry Lee will lead a guided tour at Mission San Luis, highlighting decades of research, findings, and ongoing archaeological work at the site. The tour begins at 11:00 a.m. and is included with the normal fee for site admission. Mission San Luis is located at 2100 West Tennessee Street, in Tallahassee, Florida.


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Storytime at The Grove Museum is a monthly program featuring read-aloud books and hands-on activities geared towards families with children ages 8 and under. May’s storytime will feature a reading of “The Little House,” by Virginia Lee Burton. This historic preservation-themed program is free, open to the public, and starts at 10:00 a.m. The Grove Museum is located at 902 North Monroe Street, in Tallahassee, Florida.


Saturday, May 13, 2023

Staff from the Bureau of Historic Preservation will be at the Tallahassee Downtown Market, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., sharing information about the importance of National Historic Preservation Month. Ruben Acosta, Chief of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, will also lead a guided walking tour of downtown historic sites, focusing on their preservation stories. The tour starts at 11:00 a.m. and begins at the fountain in Ponce de Leon Park, in the heart of the Downtown Market. Tallahassee’s Downtown Market is located on Park Avenue between Adams Street and Monroe Street in Tallahassee, Florida, and is held every Saturday from March to November. The guided tour and the Downtown Market are free and open to the public.


Saturday, May 13, 2023

The Museum of Florida History is partnering with the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library system to offer their popular Second Saturday Family Programs at local branch libraries. On May 13, the Museum Educator-led program will take place at the Main Branch Library, 200 West Park Avenue, in Tallahassee, Florida, starting at 11:00 a.m., and includes a historic preservation-themed program and activities for families with children ages 8 and under.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

History Happy Hour is your chance to visit The Grove Museum after hours to enjoy conversation about topics in American history and historic preservation. John Grandage, DHR Director of Public Engagement & Historic Site Development, will offer a guided walking tour focusing on how historical research and historic preservation help inform historic site interpretation at The Grove Museum. The Grove Museum is located at 902 North Monroe Street, in Tallahassee, Florida. This is a ticketed program for adults ages 21+. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit:


Saturday, May 20, 2023

The annual 20th of May—Emancipation in Florida commemoration recognizes the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Tallahassee, Florida, on May 20, 1865, two years after it was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln. The commemoration is a joint effort between Knott House Museum and John G. Riley Center & Museum. Commemorative events include a Civil War Grave Decorating Service, a tradition that dates back to the Reconstruction era, at Old City Cemetery, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between Park Avenue and Call Street, starting at 10:00 a.m. Following the conclusion of the cemetery service, at 11:30 a.m., the public is invited to Lewis Park, in front of the Knott House Museum, located at 301 East Park Avenue, in Tallahassee, Florida, for remarks from dignitaries; a historical reenactment by Frederick Douglass reenactor John Anderson; a musical performance by the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra; a dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation; and a free picnic lunch in Lewis Park.  


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Ruben Acosta, Chief of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, will discuss the importance of historic resource survey, including the history of the preservation movement in the United States and how local communities can participate in and benefit from documenting historic resources. This free program is part of the Museum of Florida History’s History at High Noon Lecture Series and will take place at the R.A. Gray Building, 500 South Bronough Street, in Tallahassee, Florida, starting at 12:00 p.m.




About the Division of Historical Resources

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources (DHR) is responsible for preserving and promoting Florida’s historical and archaeological resources. The Division Director’s office oversees a grants-in-aid program to help preserve and maintain Florida’s historic buildings and archaeological sites, and coordinates outreach programs such as State Historic Markers. DHR directs historic preservation efforts throughout Florida in cooperation with state and federal agencies, local governments, private organizations, and individuals. The Division director serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, acting as the liaison with the national historic preservation program conducted by the National Park Service. The Division is comprised of three Bureaus, archaeological research, historic preservation, and historical museums. For more information, visit:  

About The Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Historic Preservation

The Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) conducts historic preservation programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving, and interpreting the historic and cultural resources of the state. The Bureau manages the Florida Main Street Program, and under federal and state laws, oversees the National Register of Historic Places program for Florida, maintains an inventory of the state's historical resources in the Florida Master Site File, assists applicants in federal tax benefit and local government ad valorem tax relief programs for historic buildings, and reviews the impact that development projects may have on significant historic resources. For more information, visit: