The Orange County Regional History Center

The Orange County Regional History Center

The Orange County Regional History Center
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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About
The Orange County Regional History Center, housed in a restored historic 1927 courthouse in downtown Orlando, showcases the vast collections of the Historical Society of Central Florida. Three floors of permanent exhibits showcase 12,000 years of Florida history. The museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate and AAM accredited museum, also presents nationally important limited-run exhibitions.
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4.5
167 reviews
Excellent
92
Very good
56
Average
17
Poor
2
Terrible
0

Arielfl
Coconut Creek, FL1,571 contributions
The Orlando Regional History Center is located in the old Neoclassical Orlando courthouse built in 1927. One of the most famous trials held here was for Ted Bundy. When the city outgrew the courthouse they built a new annex next door in 1960. In 1995 community leaders voted to make the 1927 courthouse a regional history museum. By this time the courthouse annex had been closed down due to asbestos. In 1998 it was torn down and Heritage Park was built on the site. The Orange County Regional History Center opened in the restored courthouse in 2000. Parking for the museum is available at the Central Boulevard garage across from the Orlando Public Library.

There are four floors of exhibits starting from 12,000 years ago. The fifth floor houses the Joseph L. Brechner Research Center. The story of Florida's history in the museum starts with Native American settlements that turned into pioneer towns that raised cattle and farmed citrus. In the 1970's the tourist industry blossomed turning Florida into the vacation destination it is today. More current events like the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the trial of Casey Anthony,and the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting are also examined. Exhibits focus on African American history, aviation, the cattle and citrus Industries, the history of tourism in Florida, Florida's indigenous people, the first settlers, the environment, and the impact of the theme parks. One exhibit I really liked was the recreated court room. On one of the tables the name Ted Bundy has been carved. Whether it was actually by him is up for debate. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum also showcases special exhibits. They also offer camps, workshops, lectures, and activities.

This museum is associated with the Smithsonian. The museum offers free admission on the third Thursday of each month from 6 to 9 PM. It will also offer free admission on April 4, 2020 for Museum Day. Regular adult admission is $8 but I saved money by purchasing a Groupon. That is a great, inexpensive activity. Lake Eola
is nearby and there are a ton of great places to eat in the area. I highly recommend this fantastic museum.
Written February 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mary M
Las Vegas, NV11 contributions
This is a gem and definitely worth a visit. It’s so packed with so much information spread over four floors that we weren’t able to see it all in the two hours we had to see it. Every display was museum quality. The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate. The day we visited to see one on loan. It was all about mythical creatures, giants, dragons and unicorns. Excellent! It’s a must visit.
Written November 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sharon S
Port Saint Lucie, FL18 contributions
Seeing the history of Florida from very early years thru current time. Interesting to learn about the boom times brought by the railroad, then the space industry and then Disney. 2 floors dedicated to this section. Older children/ teens interested in history may like, but requires a lot of reading to learn and appreciate the museum offerings. Some special exhibits also there that turn over after a number of weeks. One exhibit is from African American history.
Written February 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

OnAir541390
5 contributions
The Ocoee Massacre exhibit is very well done. We are so glad we chose to visit. So many things to learn about an area we thought we knew well. Quite painful to be confronted by such hatred and bigotry from your own ancestors. I feel if more people visited and acknowledged the changes we still need to make, we would live in a better country.
Written November 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JackofPBFL
Palm Bay, FL1,203 contributions
We had some time to kill between a medical appointment and picking someone up at the airport. So, we visited this museum and I am glad we did. It was well done an interesting. it started with the indigenous people of the area and progressed through time. I learned a lot there in a relatively short amount of time. Highly recommended.
Written August 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nancy U
Altamonte Springs, FL1,461 contributions
Friends
I’ve lived in Orlando for almost 50 years and never knew about this place. There are several floors of great Orlando history from the orange groves to Walt Disney World. I loved learning a few new pieces about Orlando. Go for a could of hour and then enjoy a walk around Lake Eola.
Written September 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Fletch1946
Fair Haven, NJ961 contributions
Couples
We stopped by the Regional History Center mid afternoon. We had about 2 hours before the Center closed. That was about perfect. It has very instructive sections on the early history of the area, the cattle in dusty, the citrus fruit industry, and the “Crackers.” I had always taken that to be a derogatory term, but here is presented as a term applied to early settlers who valued their freedom over wealth. The museum is very well done.
Written January 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

OrlandoGal22
Orlando, FL621 contributions
Couples
We've been to this museum several times now and it still is one of the best in the Central Florida area. We're originally from up north (Northeast Ohio and NYC Metro areas, respectively) and we're used to awesome museums and this one is about as good as you'll find in the Central Florida area for feeling like you're back in one of those great places of learning up north.

Especially insightful is the 4th floor's history of the Central Florida area - some great displays and interactive exhibits. The 3rd floor houses interesting tidbits about aviation, wartime, travel, and tourism. It also has the old courtroom where, if you look closely at the table where the defendant would be seated, you'll see under plexiglass that Ted Bundy's name is etched into the wood. Supposedly he did that while on trial in that very courtroom.

The 2nd floor's exhibits change frequently and some have been very interesting over the years - ranging from Jim Henson's Muppets to fascinating costumes from big time Hollywood movies.

The only thing I'd have to say is to - when you go and if you have kids - PLEASE keep them under control and quietly respectful of the museum.

We went this past Sunday (it was free during a promo they're having) and it was disheartening to see a group of about 8 middle-school girls completely running around, screaming, roughhousing, etc. while two absent-minded women who were "with them" (using the term loosely) were oblivious to it - not doing a thing but chatting away following them around. Clearly, there was NO way they were there to learn anything - how could they with their behavior? Probably just to get in free and get out of the heat for a bit.

Sad to say, they weren't the only ones. There were other ADULTS that were roaming around loudly chatting away like they were at get-together and not even the least bit interested in the exhibits. A few were actually literally RUNNING, roughhousing, screaming, and fighting each other to get to sit in the judge's chair in the courtroom at one point to take selfies. Really???

What happened to when museums were quiet places of contemplation where one actually could read displays and learn from exhibits in PEACE and QUIET without shrieking of unruly children - and ADULTS! - surrounding them.

So glad we didn't pay this last visit; therefore, we'd recommend visiting on a WEEKDAY to avoid this (hopefully!) from happening.

And no, we're not old fuddy-duddys - we're in our mid- to late-30s...we just wish people could be more respectful!!!
Written March 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BeesOnTheWater
40 contributions
Family
What a great little place! I have lived in Central Florida most of my life and had no idea about this museum. Evidently it was converted from the courthouse in 1999. My oldest son had took a Boy Scout merit badge class on citizenship which they hold periodically at this location. The class was fantastic! But even better it gave a chance for my husband and I and you my younger son to go explore. For floor is full of Florida history! My 10-year-old was enthralled with the exhibits. Very nice to see all of the old Florida memorabilia from businesses of yesterday especially if you have lived in this area for a long time. This makes for a great day trip for museum and history lovers! Give yourself 2 to 3 hours to walk the floors and enjoy the exhibits and then have a bite to eat at one of the local downtown restaurants. Very reasonably priced for a nice afternoon of interesting exhibits and education!
Written October 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mike M
Orlando, FL49 contributions
Solo
A pleasant place to spend a couple hours, but here's some complaints I wish the center would tackle: Parking nearby is a real challenge, all metered and time-limiting. Walking to the museum takes you and your family right through the sorriest section of downtown (when I left this last time, two men were fighting outside near the bus stop). The admission is high for such a museum, even more so to bring family and pay for parking. They also do not honor the Southeastern Reciprocal Membership Plan if you joined at a museum "within 15 miles," such as the Orlando Museum of Art. Inside the collection is showing its age and history apparently stops with Mayor Bill Frederick (not even a photo). Disney gets its due along with Cypress Gardens (long gone) but little mention of Universal, Legoland, SeaWorld, UCF, Bay Hill, Baldwin Park, other museums and performance locations, or any music except Molly Hatchet (they're from Jacksonville actually) recording some songs here.
Written August 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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The Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about The Orange County Regional History Center

The Orange County Regional History Center is open:
  • Sun - Sun 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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We recommend booking The Orange County Regional History Center tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 2 The Orange County Regional History Center tours on Tripadvisor