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Historic Preservation Month

Celebrate Historic Preservation Month!

Secretary of State Cord Byrd announces upcoming public programs to celebrate National Historic Preservation Month, which takes place each May. This year’s events highlight Department of State efforts to help commemorate Tallahassee’s bicentennial. 

“During National Historic Preservation Month, we focus on the importance of ensuring that our state’s historical resources and their stories are preserved for future generations,” said Secretary of State Cord Byrd. “Throughout 2024, we celebrate the bicentennial of Florida’s Capital City. This anniversary provides us the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the Department’s museums and historically significant sites in Tallahassee, including The Grove Museum, Knott House Museum, Mission San Luis, and Union Bank Museum, which help to place events and individuals from state and local history into the broader national context.”

How to Participate

The Department of State celebrates National Historic Preservation Month 2024 with a series of events throughout the month of May. See a list of events below.

Also, in May 2024, the Division of Historical Resources will host multiple public meetings that fall under its statutory responsibilities to preserve, protect, and promote Florida’s history. These include a business meeting of the Florida Historical Commission on May 2, starting at 9:30 a.m., and the ninth meeting of the Florida Museum of Black History Task Force on May 21, starting at 1:00 p.m. Information on how to join these meetings virtually can be found here

Signature Event:

Friday, May 31, 2024

On May 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., visit Mission San Luis to tour the newly rethatched Apalachee Council House. A meticulous reconstruction based on archaeological research, measuring 120 feet in diameter and 72 feet tall, the Council House at Mission San Luis was among the largest Native-built structures in the seventeenth-century Southeast. In addition to Council House tours, the day will include free admission to enjoy the entire 64-acre site featuring living history demonstrations, historic interpretation, and family-friendly craft activities. Guests are encouraged to spend the full day exploring the site, learning more about the history of Mission San Luis, and visiting the exhibition gallery in the Visitor Center. This event is free and open to the public. Mission San Luis is located at 2100 West Tennessee Street, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Other Events:

Thursday, May 2, 2024

On May 2, Florida’s National Register of Historic Places Review Board is holding its quarterly public meeting. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of sites and properties throughout the country that reflect the pre-contact occupation and historical development of our nation, states, and local communities. It includes districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that have been identified and documented as being significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture. In Florida, there are more than 1,700 properties and districts listed on the National Register. Nominations for properties in Florida are submitted to the National Park Service through the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, following review and recommendation by the Florida National Register Review Board. Properties to be considered for listing at this meeting include Madison Training School (Madison, Madison County), Schweizer House (Maitland, Seminole County), and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Sarasota, Sarasota County). This meeting will take place at Mission San Luis, 2100 West Tennessee Street, in Tallahassee, Florida, starting at 1:00 p.m. The meeting will also be held via webinar. Click here to register for the webinar.   

Saturday, May 4, 2024

On May 4, Ruben Acosta, Chief of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, will lead a guided walking tour of downtown Tallahassee 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 11, 2024

The Museum of Florida History is holding the May 2024 edition of its popular Second Saturday Family Program at the newly-reopened Union Bank Museum, located at 219 Apalachee Parkway, in Tallahassee, Florida. The program features historic preservation-themed activities for families with children ages 8 and under. This program is free, open to the public, and starts at 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

On May 11, John Grandage, Assistant Director for Historical Resources, will lead a guided walking tour of The Grove Museum. In honor of 20th of May—Emancipation in Florida, the program will focus on historical landscapes and structures tied to the history of slavery and freedom in the Red Hills Region. The program will also touch upon historical research that highlights how Black Floridians shaped the built and natural environment of Leon County in the nineteenth century, and on efforts to preserve these spaces and their stories. This program is free, open to the public, and starts at 2:00 p.m. The Grove Museum is located at 902 North Monroe Street, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

On May 15, Mission San Luis presents The Architecture of Mission San Luis, as part of the Homeschool Days series of family programs. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the historic site will be filled with interactive, family-friendly architecture and historic preservation-related activities, including a scavenger hunt and a papercraft construction project. All activities during Homeschool Days are included with the normal fee for site admission. Mission San Luis is located at 2100 West Tennessee Street, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Friday, May 17, 2024

On Friday, May 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., 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, Assistant Director for Historical Resources, will offer a guided tour of the temporary exhibit Early Florida Maps & Tallahassee’s Bicentennial, which includes rare and important historic Florida maps on loan from the Cognetta Family Trust Collection and archaeological collections on loan from the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. The Grove Museum is located at 902 North Monroe Street, in Tallahassee, Florida. This is a ticketed program for adults ages 21 and older. For more information, and to purchase tickets, click here.

Monday, May 20, 2024

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 the Museum of Florida History and the John G. Riley Center & Museum. Commemorative events include a Civil War Grave Decorating Service—a tradition that started in 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, historical reenactments, musical performances, a dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, and a free picnic lunch. The May 20 programs are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

On May 28, Marcus Curtis, Geographic Information Systems Specialist II with Tallahassee-Leon County GIS, will discuss the History in Your Hands project, which allows users to explore Tallahassee of the past through an interactive website featuring maps, historical documents, and articles about local and regional history. This free program is part of the Museum of Florida History’s History at High Noon Lecture Series and will take place in the Heritage Hall Auditorium at the R.A. Gray Building, located at 500 South Bronough Street, in Tallahassee, Florida, starting at 12:00 p.m.

Partner Events:

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Kick off Preservation Month with Rotunda Rendezvous at the Historic Capitol Museum! Spend an historical evening under the iconic dome for the debut of the Museum of Florida History’s Rendition of Florida’s 1824 Territorial Capitol, a model inspired by an artist rendering and meticulously crafted by Conrad Brayman, Museum Artisan, Museum of Florida History. After a ribbon cutting and welcome from Secretary of State Cord Byrd at 6:00 p.m., visitors will be able to examine the display up close and ask questions about its construction. A “First Capitol” scavenger hunt will keep visitors moving around the building and through the new temporary exhibition Becoming Florida’s Capital. Snacks and drinks will be available during this free event, however, registration is required. Click here to register.

Ongoing Exhibits:

May 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Built in 1841, Union Bank is considered Florida’s oldest surviving bank building. Recently completed exhibits chronicle the history of the building, its many uses over time, and the story of how preservationists saved it from demolition. Featured in the exhibits are artifacts related to the building’s preservation story. Exhibits are accessible during normal museum operating hours, Thursday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Union Bank Museum is free, open to the public, and located at 219 Apalachee Parkway, in Tallahassee, Florida.

May 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Built by enslaved craftspeople, the ca. 1840 Call-Collins House at The Grove is one of the best-preserved antebellum residences in Florida. Home to several generations of the Call and Collins families, most recently LeRoy and Mary Call Collins, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Featured in the exhibits are artifacts related to the site’s construction and its preservation story. Exhibits are accessible during normal museum operating hours, Wednesday to Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Grove Museum is free, open to the public, and located at 902 North Monroe Street, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Historic Preservation in Florida 

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; coordinates outreach programs such as the State Historic Markers program and the Florida Main Street program. DHR directs historic preservation efforts throughout the state 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. 

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, including cemeteries. 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.

Connect with Us on Social Media!

To find out more about other events and programs taking place throughout the state during Historic Preservation Month, find us on Facebook Florida Division of Historical ResourcesFlorida Main Street ProgramThe Museum of Florida History, The Grove Museum, Union Bank Museum, and Mission San Luis.

The Division of Historical Resources also has an Instagram! Tag @flheritage and join the conversation by using #PreservationMonthFL.