Photo Archives Receives Donation From Turkey Creek Middle School Art Students

The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center was honored to receive a charitable donation from the art students of Turkey Creek Middle School. Art teacher Sue Swanson’s students chose to donate the proceeds of their Charity Art Sale to the Photo Archives because they considered it important to preserve the community’s rich history. Their appreciation for history is appropriate for a school that was established in 1873. Turkey Creek School is one of the early Strawberry Schools and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Turkey Creek Middle School students recently donated the proceeds of their Charity Art Sale to the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center. Receiving the donation are Shelly Drummond, Associate Director, and Kim Hamilton, Administrative Assistant.
Turkey Creek Middle School students recently donated the proceeds of their Charity Art Sale to the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center. Receiving the donation are Shelly Drummond, Associate Director, and Kim Hamilton, Administrative Assistant.

Summer Exhibit

The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center has the Summer Fun Sports and Leisure exhibit on display through August.

15777.2 future farmers, baseball team 1946-001Visit the downtown archives and explore historic images of Plant City at play. The family friendly exhibit includes a scavenger hunt. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Beginning with the formation of the Select Committee on Sustainability in late 2013 the structure and operations of the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center undertook a long-term modification. Consisting of Ed Verner, Gil Gott, Marion Smith, Bill Thomas, Felix Haynes, David Miller, Jim Chancey, George Banning, Cassandra Banning, Maribeth Mobley, Al Berry, Jim McDaniel, Darcy Stottlemyer, Mac Smith, and Jim Shump, amongst a few others, the committee outlined a number of strategic adjustments that had to be made.

Over the following year a number of those changes have taken place and the Photo Archives is on target to becoming a renewed professional archives and history organization. In addition to a number of alterations to the by-laws, new members were added to the Board of Directors. Bill Thomas and Marion Smith became new directors in October 2014. Voting membership was expanded to include close to 100 members and the first full membership meeting was held April 6, 2015, under the direction of membership chairman Paul Hackney.

Going into the New Year the Photo Archives and History Center was also proud to be honored with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award presented by the Improvement League of Plant City. The Photo Archives had previously been honored with a preservation award from the City of Plant City and a community service award from the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce.

In April 2015 the organization brought in a new Associate Director to help strengthen the organization’s professional profile and operations. Barbara “Shelly” Drummond holds degrees in archaeology and folklife studies and has excellent museum management experience. Prior to joining the Photo Archives Drummond was the Curator of Education and Programs at the Polk County History Center and Museum in Bartow.

Working with information technology consultant David Patton the Photo Archives has increased its bandwidth, increased its Internet capabilities, was approved for Microsoft Office 365 and is currently installing that platform. It is in the process of redeveloping its website and will make increased use of Word Press to insure its ability to be up to date on events and developments.

New hours have been established and the administrative offices are now open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, with the Exhibit Gallery open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and other times and days by appointment.

With a preservation assistance grant received through the National Endowment for the Humanities the Photo Archives is upgrading its physical collection storage capability. Through the employment of the Office 365 technology the digital collection storage capabilities will be increased both

in capacity and in security, via cloud storage and technological improvements. The overall intent is to gain intellectual control over the digital collection management process and to use new technologies to improve the capacity, security, and accessibility of the various collections. Additionally, the search ability of the digital collection will be greatly enhanced.

The Photo Archives has set up new Facebook and Twitter accounts which will link to its website. The research library in the History Center is also being upgraded and will soon be available to search the full digital photo and document collection. Additionally, a new emphasis has been placed on the collection of manuscripts, papers, scrapbooks, newspapers, and area publications, as well as official documents.

Established partnerships with organizations such as the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and the Improvement League are being enhanced and new relationships are being developed – including work study programs, internships, writing and research projects on a contract basis, and more. Volunteer positions are also opening up and applications for volunteer work will be available soon.

In addition to these programs the Photo Archives is a strong supporter of the Bruton Memorial Library and along with the Friends of the Library are producing the Plant City History Trivia Challenge on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at the Plant City Entertainment building at 101 North Thomas Street in downtown Plant City beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Challenge event will include 16 community leaders on four teams in an attempt to answer history trivia questions and win the History Trivia Challenge Cup. The Photo Archives and History Center has compiled a number of rigorous and not so rigorous questions for a fun evening in support of the library.

The current Plant City Photo Archives and History Center Board of Directors consists of Ed Verner, Robert Trinkle, Jim Shump, Bill Thomas, and Marion Smith.

Advisory Council Executive Committee members are Cassandra Banning, Charles Harris, Anne Haywood, James McDaniel, Mac Smith, and Darcy Stottlemyer.

The office staff consists of Gil Gott, Executive Director; Shelly Drummond, Associate Director; and Kimberly Hamilton, Administrative Assistant; and several wonderful volunteers.

For further information call the Photo Archives office at 813.754.1578.

Plant City Photo Archives announces contest winners

By Dave Nicholson | Tribune Staff
Published: May 25, 2015

PLANT CITY Ashlyn Yarbrough won the Plant City High School division and Stephanie and William Varney won in the adult competition of a photojournalism contest.

The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center recently announced the winners of the competition it has held for six years. This is the first time there was an adult division.


Competitors had to submit a story pertaining to Plant City’s history, places or residents and at least one photograph.

Yarbrough submitted an entry titled “Only in Plant City,” which showcased Plant City’s sense of unity and charity theater productions. She was also co-winner of the 2014 photojournalism contest.

Other Plant City High entries of note include Morgan Napper’s entry on Union Station, now the Robert W. Willaford Railway Museum; Nadia Trujillo-Acosta’s entry, “Walden Lake” that explores how much her family enjoys the community’s natural resources; and Abigail Baker’s entry, “Vietnamese Jungles to Plant City High School,” featuring Jim LaGarde, a Vietnam veteran and public speaker in several Hillsborough County schools.

The Varneys’ entry was on pioneer Joseph Howell III.

Winners of both the high school and adult categories received a check for $100.

New Associate Director

By Dave Nicholson | Tribune Staff
Published: April 28, 2015

PLANT CITY – A nonprofit that preserves old photos and historic documents has hired an associate director.

Barbara “Shelly” Drummond, a Plant City resident, joined the Photo Archives and History Center’s staff earlier this month. She serves under Executive Director Gil Gott.

Drummond has plenty of experience in historic preservation; her most recent job was as curator of education and programming for the Polk County History Center.

She also has experience at the archives, including working with staff members as a consultant for grant-writing and a part time assistant to Gott. She has written several successful grant applications for the nonprofit.

Drummond studied at Western Kentucky University and Virginia Commonwealth University and holds degrees in general studies, archaeology, folk studies, and historical and cultural preservation.

Her resume includes work at Walt Disney World, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and the Army Corps of Engineers, among other positions.

Locally, Drummond is on the board of directors of the Arts Council of Plant City, and has worked with Plant City Entertainment community theater, and the East Hillsborough Historical Society.

Drummond will work with Gott in redeveloping the organization’s strategic plan, grant writing, educational programming, and developing partnerships with Bruton Memorial Library, Hillsborough Community College, Florida Southern College, public schools, and various governmental entities.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO

(813) 394-5103