Genealogical and museum exploration, a Halloween “Fright School” workshop for children, and a family Pumpkinfest – including a historic program about the nearly lost Seminole pumpkin variety – are all planned this semester at UCF’s Public History Center in Sanford.

The staff at the 1902 building, one of the few surviving examples of Florida school architecture from that era, will host:

  • Museum Day LIVE! (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Family Tree Fun Fest (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 28, free.
  • Museum Day LIVE! is a Smithsonian magazine event to promote museums across the country. Participants are admitted with a ticket downloaded from Each ticket is good for two people.

    The Family Tree Fun Fest will offer activities for relatives to work together and explore their family history. UCF historians will be on hand to answer genealogy questions and provide guidance. Participants also will be able to create a family tree using craft supplies; everyone is asked to bring photos and other family artifacts.

  • “Bring Your Ancestors to Life” Writing Workshops
  • The center will offer two writing workshops in October to guide family researchers working on their family history. Whether a beginning genealogist, a master of the microfilm machine, or someone who simply wants to preserve family anecdotes, participants at these the hands-on workshops will be shown how to write the story of their family.

    The workshops will be directed by Patricia Charpentier, author of Eating an Elephant – Write Your Life One Bite at a Time:

    “Raising the Dead” Workshop, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, $30. This class will help people start writing their family history and will show the different methods of preserving the past.

    “Put Some Meat on Dem Bones” Workshop, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, $30. This class will provide ways to flesh out genealogical data. Genealogical charts and family trees provide a wealth of infor­mation, but this class shows how to fill in the blanks and give depth and meaning to the facts.

  • Fright School, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 14, $13 for children 7-17, $7 for an accompanying adult.
  • This day-long workshop will give children a chance to develop and stage one ‘story’ of a haunted house. In the process, they will learn how to apply costume make-up, set up lighting, and use costumes and props for effect.  Participants should bring a lunch and are required to wear closed-toe shoes. Payment and registration must be received by Oct. 7. For more information, call Cynthia Tomerlin at 407-936-1679 or email

  • Pumpkinfest , 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19.
  • Family activities include live music, crafts and face-painting. Florida Master Gardeners will talk about the Seminole pumpkin, which is native of South Florida and was cultivated by Florida Indians and early European settlers. The variety was almost lost in modern time, however, and is making a comeback as an easy summer-season vegetable. There also will be a scavenger hunt, door prizes and treats, and visitors can tour the historic exhibits in the center.

    The Public History Center at 301 W. 7th St., Sanford, has an original furnished classroom, a Timucua village, pioneer room, Georgetown and Crooms High School exhibits featuring the city’s African-American community, and other displays.

    For additional information about the center and upcoming events, call 407-936-1679 or go to