UCF’s Public History Center in Sanford rang in the first day of Seminole County schools Monday and hosted an open house for the community.

The old-time school bell in the 1902 building was rung by associate professor Rosalind Beiler, director of the UCF center, and Walt Griffin, Seminole County’s school superintendent, to symbolize the beginning of the new school year and the collaboration of the two organizations.

To reinforce the Public History Center’s goal of involving the community, Beiler quoted Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” The center provides hands-on educational experiences for students of all ages, serves as a research site connecting local history to global events, and promotes opportunities for learning through workshops and interactive programming.

The center was just awarded a grant to show four documentaries and hold discussion forums about civil rights in America. The first film, “Freedom Riders,” won an Emmy in 2012 and will be shown 1 p.m. Nov. 2.

Dates will be set later for “The Abolitionists,” “Slavery by Another Name” and “The Loving Story.” “The Loving Story” and “The Abolitionists” have been nominated for Emmys this year.

The films are part of Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a partnership initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.