Historical Society looks to grandparents to help preserve this region’s rich history.

This General Store is one of four buildings that make up the Historic Pioneer Village in Kissimmee that the Osceola County Historical Society operates. (Photo by Steve Schwartz).

KISSIMMEE – As Kattia Graham is quick to note, one of the great things about spending time with your grandparents is the rich wealth of information they have about the family’s history.
“We are big believers in taking as much knowledge and as many of these memories and these histories that our elders hold,” Graham said. “They are the ones who know more, and have experienced more, and they have a first hand perspective of what’s happening, and how things are happening. I don’t think that compares to what you read in books.”
Graham has a particularly strong interest in history – specifically, Osceola County’s history. She’s the program director at the Osceola County Historical Society, which hopes to unite grandparents and their grandchildren in a day of fun, celebration – and, yes, a little history, too.
The Spence-Lanier Pioneer Village, which the Historical Society runs, will be celebrating Grandparent’s Day on Sunday, Sept. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the village at 750 N. Bass Road in Kissimmee. Grandparents get in free that day with a paid child, and there will be plenty of events to take advantage of – live music, square dancing, a barbeque, crafts and more.
It’s being held in conjunction with National Grandparents Day, which is held on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
“We have been wanting to do this event for quite a while, and this year we were hesitant because it would be on September 11,” said Graham, a reference to the date of the devastating terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. in 2001.
“But we’re focusing on the positive side of life, and we decided to throw this event anyway,” she added. “It’s a first time for us.”
It makes sense for a historical society to celebrate Grandparent’s Day, she said, because they have so much wonderful knowledge about history — the history of the region, of the state, and, of course, of their own family.
That’s why the historical society plans to bring in volunteers from its genealogy lab to work with the grandparents and kids alike on a unique project that day.
“We have a few volunteers who have done work at our genealogy lab, and they are going to work with the kids on this project,” she said. “There are going to be a few questions we want them to ask, and we’re going to encourage the kids to ask more and open a dialogue between them and their grandparents. We’re trying to do a family event, and make it very accessible, very affordable, but at the same time one that’s in keeping with our mission of preserving history. We want to call this the Legacy Project, where we teach the kids how to interview their grandparents and create a family history book.”
Beyond that history, the day also offers fun for all ages, she added.
“Besides that, we are going to have our musicians,” she said. “They are volunteers for the society, and they play at all of our events. They have a lot of history in terms of local music, and this is a volunteer run event.
“We’re going to have a few vendors, and everything there will be based on family activities,” she added. “We’re going to have square dancing, workshops, craft stations, and all kinds of games. We’re also going to have a pioneer portrait with the grandparents and their kids, and the Osceola County Council on Aging will share information on its Meals on Wheels program and Adopt a Grandparent program, and all of our craft stations are based on stuff that will go into the family histories.”
“It sounds really nice, and interesting,” said Carmen Carrasquillo, the chief operations officer at the Council on Aging. “We collaborate with anybody and all ages here in Osceola County. We do for each other and help each other out.”
The Osceola County Historical Society is committed to preserving the county’s history for future generations to enjoy. They have four historic structures that make up the Historic Pioneer Village, including an original Cracker house from 1889. Everything inside the buildings is original to those structures.
To learn more about the Historical Society or Grandparents Day, call 407-396-8644, email donnita@osceolahistory.org, or log on to www.osceolahistory.org.

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