So, what’s going on at the Public History Center?

Coordinator of Education & Training Cyndi Tomerlin (left) watches as Public History Educators prepare for the first of three Nature Discovery Workshops to be held at the PHC this Spring.

“So, what’s going on at the Public History Center?”

It’s a question I love being asked.

As Interim Director of the Center, I have the pleasure of sitting down with our incredible staff every week and hearing about all the interesting/cool/fun/exciting things happening in their respective departments. For example:

  • Cyndi Tomerlin, our Coordinator of Education and Training, supervises the small army of student interns and volunteers who build the exhibits and lead the tours. She can tell you what each and every one is working on, from the Native American Exhibit brochure to the search for new technologies that will enhance the visitor experience.
  • Regina Pirzadeh is our Office Manager. She keeps tabs on our historic building and grounds. She recently secured two exhibition cases, free of charge, through our partnering organization, the Seminole County Public Schools. The tall, six-sided glass case is large enough to hold a full-size mannequin. (Picture a scene from Night at the Museum!)
  • Betty Sample, our Manager of Collections, supervises the students, interns, and community volunteers who are bringing our collections into the Digital Age. She’s our point person on a fascinating new project – a partnership with UCF’s Aphasia House and RICHES MI – that could give our collections an important new role in outpatient therapy.
  • Sharon Howard, our Community Program Coordinator, wears many hats around here. You might find her outside in our teaching gardens, where she is creating signage for self-guided tours. Or you might see her pitching in at an upcoming Heritage Craft or Scout Nature Discovery event. Sharon wants the PHC to become a regional hub for Boy Scout and Girl Scout Badge-Earning Events, and is working hard to make that happen.
  • Tiffany Rivera is Assistant Director of Educational and Training Programs for UCF’s History Department. A talented designer and marketing specialist, she’s currently creating the web graphics and flyer for our upcoming film-viewing and community discussion, “Created Equal: Justice and (In)Equality,” to be held at the Wayne Densch Theater in mid-March. (Stay tuned for details.)
  • Tiffany Kilpatrick compiles information for our PHC website and newsletter and helps us evaluate the impact and reach of our public programming.  Her work as Office Assistant is essential to our mission of outreach and community engagement.

With so much going on around here, I am asking each member of our team to become a blogger and help me share the news with you. We hope to post at least two entries a month, so check back often. We want to hear from you, as well. If you have an idea, send us an email at, call us at 407-936-1679, or stop by during regular PHC hours.

(Posted by Scot French, Interim Director and Associate Professor of Public/Digital History.)