The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation History Research and Education Center is a non-profit organization located in Winter Garden, Florida, dedicated to preserving the history of the area. The Center houses an extensive collection of historical documents, photographs, artifacts, and other memorabilia that tell the story of the city from its founding to the present day. The Center also hosts a variety of educational events, including lectures, workshops, and exhibits, to help educate the community about the city’s rich history. The Center also serves as a resource for local historians and genealogists, providing access to records and resources related to the history of the area.
Winter Garden Heritage Foundation
The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, located at 21 East Plant Street in Winter Garden, in historic downtown Florida, operates two museums in Winter Garden, Florida: a Winter Garden Heritage Museum and the Central Florida Railroad Museum. The History Research, Education and Visitor Center is the foundation’s headquarters and contains its administrative offices. It also has a gift shop.
The activities of the WGHF include identifying, documenting, evaluating and protecting West Orange County’s history, cultural and physical character. Public education in the form of a fully accredited school visitation program, historic walking tours, heritage events, workshops, exhibits, written resource materials and live presentations on Facebook.
Winter Garden Heritage Museum
The Winter Garden Heritage Museum is located in 1923 Atlantic Coast Line train depot In the center winter Garden. The museum focuses on the region’s history and culture, with exhibits including citrine labels, artifacts left by the region’s indigenous people, railway memorabilia and historic photographs. New exhibitions are presented three times a year.
Central Florida Railroad Museum
The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation also maintains a close working relationship with this museum, located nearby at 101 South Boyd Street in the 1913 Tavares & Gulf Railroad depot. It is a world-class museum that displays photographs and artifacts covering the history of the Central Florida Railroad. Maps, brochures, diagrams and an extensive collection of railway china and crystal attract visitors from all over the world.
In 2008, the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation completed the restoration of the garden theaterlocated at 160 West Plant Street in the historic center Winter Garden, Florida. Originally operated as a movie theater, opened in 1935. The interior was complete with a Spanish tiled courtyard, “Romeo and Juliet” balconies and lanterns in the windows over the proscenium arch with palm trees decorating either side. The ceiling of the theater was dark blue, resplendent with stars. Several renovations changed the face of the theater until it closed in 1963 as movie audiences dwindled in the new age of television. The foundation acquired the building on January 1, 2004, under an operating agreement with the City of Winter Garden.
The purpose and vision of the foundation was twofold. The first objective was to restore this historic building to its original architectural integrity while maintaining the character and revitalization of historic downtown Winter Garden, making the building an authentic period piece. The second was to become the heart of the city as a center for the performing arts, cinema and multipurpose space. These goals were achieved and the theater became a 501c(3) non-profit organization that operates independently of the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation.
- Winter Garden Heritage Foundation – official site
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