Friday, May 25, 2007
Heritage Village: Pinellas County’s Piece of the Past
Heritage Village is a 21-acre, living history museum located in the heart of Pinellas County. When Spanish explorers first arrived on this peninsula, they dubbed it —Punta Pinal,” or —point of pines.” The Village’s natural pine and palmetto landscape conjures up the setting those earliest visitors experienced and is home to some of the county’s most historic buildings.
More than 28 historic structures and features make up the Village. Most were relocated from other places and some date back to the mid-19th century. The Village includes two schools, a church, railroad depot, and general store as well as a variety of historic homes. The homes range from the 1852 McMullen-Coachman Log Cabin, the oldest existing structure in the County, to the magnificent Queen Anne-style House of Seven Gables. A smokehouse and sugarcane boiling shed are fired up for special events.
As you walk along the shady paths, you are really walking through the museum! The buildings and other features make up the Village’s largest —artifacts” and are part of the museum’s —collection.” Inside the buildings, you will find period rooms and displays depicting lifeways, culture and early industries that shaped the Pinellas peninsula.
The Village takes a hands-on approach to history with POPs——pieces of the past.” Some of the living history demonstrations and visitor activities you might encounter during your stroll through the Village include pine needle and palm frond weaving, mending cast nets, working in the heritage garden, rope making, blacksmithing, traditional fiber arts, and pioneer cooking. Docents and living history interpreters are likely to encourage you to roll up your sleeves and do laundry the old-fashioned way—with a washboard and bucket of soapy water! Demonstrators present weaving, quilting, and other folk crafts at the Daniel McMullen House.
The Visitor Center features galleries showcasing local history and items from the permanent collection. Pinellas Passport: Your Ticket through Time illustrates major areas of development in Pinellas County, including coastal living with a focus on the sponge industry; agriculture featuring citrus industry artifacts; community life through newspapers and a printing press; and tourism, showcasing souvenirs and once-popular roadside attraction icons.
Quick & Easy: Gadgets for the Home presents a fun look at the labor saving devices used by "modern housewives" to tackle pesky domestic chores. A special hands-on area filled with vintage household items makes this exhibit extra fun for children.
Christopher Still Prints: Clues to Florida’s History and Natural Beauty is a print collection of the artist’s murals that were commissioned by the Florida House of Representatives. The prints are filled with clues and details that speak to Florida’s history, many of which can be found in the buildings at Heritage Village.
The Heritage Village Archives & Library is home to 3,500 books and periodicals plus historic photographs, maps, special collections and other materials relating to the history of Pinellas County.
Heritage Village hosts themed festivals, including the craft lovers’ Country Jubilee, the Pinellas Folk Festival for music lovers, the Antique Car Show and other events that capture the flavor of eras gone by. School break camps for children and workshops and programs for adults provide fun and interesting learning opportunities year ‘round.
Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. N. in Largo, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free; donations are accepted. For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/heritage or call 582-2123.