History Seekers

History Seekers - Projects For High School Students

Welcome to History Seekers!

History Seekers is a collaboration between the Museum of Seminole County History and the Seminole County School Board.


Native Americans Seminoles (Creek, Cherokee, Black)

Indian doll collection






Chief Osceola



    • Create a Seminole Indian doll using authentic Seminole patterns and fashion. Investigate tribal authenticity on the Seminole Tribe of Florida website.
    • See authentic dolls on the Seminole Tribe of Florida website.
    • Decorative patchwork embellishes Seminole dress. Create examples of tribal patchwork in an authentic skirt, shirt, or other cotton item.
    • Explain the relationship between the environment and the efficiency of clothing design.
    • Create a dance rattle from a gourd. Decorate with authentic patterns
    • FCAT: Most societies use readily available natural resources for many purposes. Think about how the Seminoles used gourds in their daily lives. Now write an essay explaining how the gourd had multiple purposes.
    • Gourd fact sheet available at the Museum.
    • Print the gourd fact sheet from the Museum's website.
    • After visiting the Museum, research and draw several different kinds of arrowheads, explaining the types, sizes and purposes based on the game hunted.
    • Create an autobiographical diary reflecting the last year of Osceola's life, 1838. Include his flashbacks to the Indian Wars as well as his thoughts on his capture and imminent death. Base this diary upon factual references.
    • Discuss the relationship of Osceola's hatred of the U.S. military and the abduction and enslavement of his wife.
    • Describe and illustrate common Seminole weapons of this period and the source of their manufacture.
    • Visit the Museum for information on Osceola.
    • Create an example of Seminole beadwork and investigate the relationship between colored beads and Seminole women.
    • Investigate authentic beadwork on the Seminole Tribe of Florida website.
    • Create a class recipe book of Seminole foods and have a cultural celebration with Seminole music and dance.
    • Investigate authentic foods, recipes and dances on the Seminole Tribe of Florida website.
    • Research, identify, and explain the source(s) of the Seminole language.
    • Investigate Seminole "medicine" traditions.
    • Investigate "medicine" traditions on the Seminole Tribe of Florida website.
    • Visit the Indian Shell Mound, located just off Celery Avenue in Sanford. Photograph, research and write about Seminole burial rites using the mound as an example.
    • Indian Shell Mound driving directions: South on Mellonville. Turn left (east) on SR #46. Go approx. 2.5 miles. Turn left on Cameron Ave. Go to end of Cameron Ave., cross Celery Ave., follow Cameron around to the left to see mound.
    • Visit the Museum for information on Indian Mound artifacts.

Forts and Early Settlements


Fort Mellon, Mellonville and Sanford

    • Identify and trace the history of three early U.S. military installations within Seminole County.
    • Create a flow chart comparing the development of towns associated with military fortifications. Include all the Seminole County forts.
    • Visit the Museum for information on Seminole County forts.
    • Visit Fort Christmas and trace the dimension and positions of recreated structures.
    • Visit Fort Christmas Historical Park website.
    • Identify the causes, events, and outcome of the Second Seminole War. Include Fort Mellon's important role within this war.
    • Map and analyze the significance of the St. John's River in the development of Fort Mellon.
    • Create a poem based on this description of Fort Mellon from 1842: "Just imagine children, dogs fighting, pigs squealing, geese quacking, turkeys gobbling, some of the old women scolding, two or more fiddles screeching at intervals, occasionally steam blowing off."
    • Create a diary describing a day in the life of a teenager living in a fort, using one of the forts listed below.
    • Fort Mellon
    • Fort Reid (Sanford)
    • Fort Lane (Geneva)
    • Fort Christmas (Orange County)
    • Visit the Museum for information on Fort Mellon.

Steamboats and Railroads





Henry Plant


Henry Flagler

    • Construct a map tracing major steamboat routes on the St. John's River. Include stopping and re-supply points.
    • Identify and trace the history of four steamboats operating on the St. Johns in the 19th Century.
    • Draw pictures of 19th Century steamboat wharfs at their former location on Lake Monroe and take photographs of what is there today. Make a poster reflecting the old wharfs and new location sites.
    • Discuss the causes of the demise of the St. John's steamboat lines.
    • Visit the Museum for information on steamboats and the St. John's River.
    • Using Mark Twain as a source, give an oral description of a typical day of an employee working on a steamboat, including describing sights and sounds, etc.
    • Construct a map tracing major railroad routes in Florida.
    • Visit the Museum to see maps of Florida's railroads.
    • The Seminole Trail is on an old rail bed. While walking the trail, take frequent pictures of possible landmarks. Accompany photos with a written narrative.
    • Visit Seminole County Trails and Greenways website.
    • Research the obstacles to the development of railroad expansion into Central Florida and Seminole County.
    • Describe the extension of the Plant System Railroad through 1967. Using a map, trace the lines of the Plant System Railroad in 1928.
    • Visit the Museum to see a map of the Plant System and for information on Florida's railroads.
    • Analyze the difference in business strategies between railroad magnates Henry Plant and Henry Flagler.
    • Discuss Henry Flagler's promotion of tourism in Florida.













    • Describe the introduction of the citrus industry into Seminole County.
    • Identify the grove owners and locations of their groves found within Seminole County between 1886 - 1970. Photograph the labels of Seminole County citrus companies you find at the Museum's citrus exhibit. Explain the significance of each of the corporate graphics.
    • Explain the relationship between the railroads and the development of the citrus industry.
    • Describe the different oranges grown in Seminole County and explain their similarities and differences.
    • Evaluate the effects of suburban expansion into former citrus groves and the future of the citrus industry. Also, consider the economic effect of heavy freezes in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.
    • Visit the Museum for information on the citrus industry.
    • Examine total beef production in Florida from 1940 to 1960 and make a comparison chart or graph as compared with other states during that time frame.
    • Compare and contrast the Florida Cracker (also known as cow hunters) as compared to cowboys elsewhere.
    • Research current beef processing methods as they pertain to consumer demand in Florida.
    • Research the typical working day of a Florida cow-hunter from the 1880's - 1930's.
    • Investigate the names of early cattle ranchers in Seminole County and show on a map where their ranches or farms were located from 1800 - 1970.
    • Visit the Museum for information on the cattle industry.
    • Research the history, uses, and manufacture of naval stores/turpentine.
    • Identify former areas of major turpentine stills within Seminole County.
    • Discuss the environmental impact of the turpentine industry including the depletion of forest areas. Were other trees involved? How was Big Tree Swamp affected?
    • Research the daily life of an average turpentine worker.
    • Visit the Museum for information on the turpentine industry.
    • Analyze the relationship between the citrus and celery industries with special attention given to unusual weather conditions of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
    • Using a map, identify major celery producing areas in Seminole County.
    • Research the production methods, marketing techniques and transportation terminals of the Seminole County celery industry.
    • Visit the Museum for information on the celery industry.
    • Today, commercial fishing is most often associated with the ocean. However, at one time the St. John's River supported a viable fishing industry. Investigate the history of the fishing industry in Seminole County.
    • Create a model of a commercial fishing boat as would be found on the St. John's River and an example of a fishing net from times past.
    • Trace the market destinations of the fishing industry in Seminole County. What particular fish was of greatest market demand?
    • Visit the Museum for information on the fishing industry.
    • Fern Park derives its name from its once major industry, the agricultural production of ferns destined for florists throughout the nation. In fact, Seminole County was once the "Fern Capital of the United States." Research the growing, harvesting, and marketing of Seminole County fern production.
    • Visit the Museum for information on the fern industry.

Demographic Changes

Southern Migration - Post Civil War



    • Write a paper and explain the religious affiliation of European immigrants and its effect upon Seminole County.
    • Analyze the reasons for which these specific ethnic groups were drawn to Seminole County.
    • Using a map, identify the Swedish, German, and Slovak communities within Seminole County. Identify well-known residents of Seminole County who are the descendants of these early immigrants.
    • Visit the Museum for information on Seminole County communities.

African Americans









Prominent citizens

    • Trace the establishment and contribution of African American communities within Seminole County. Special attention should be given to prominent community leaders of yesterday and today.
    • Compare and contrast the African American communities within Seminole County. Consider the following:
    • Sanford
    • Oviedo
    • Altamonte
    • Geneva
    • Visit the Museum for information on African American communities in Seminole County.
    • Analyze the importance of the Church within the black communities.
    • Describe the development of Sanford's first black Church, St. James A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) Church from brush arbor to permanent structure.
    • Visit the Museum for information on churches in Seminole County.
    • Research the case of Plessy v Ferguson as it pertained to public education.
    • Research an early black school in Seminole County. Find the year it opened, the first principal and teachers, salaries, school calendar and school amenities.
    • Imagine you are a black high school student living in Oviedo in 1965. Using a map, describe the route you take to school. What difficulties did the black student encounter getting to high school from his/her own community?
    • Compare and contrast the black and white schools in pre-integrated Seminole County. Compare and contrast them in the early days of integration. Create a pre-writing chart such as a venn diagram, tree diagram, cluster map, or outline.
    • Research federal desegregation orders as they apply to Seminole County.
    • Visit the Museum for information on schools in Seminole County.
    • Visit the Museum's web page for the history of black schools in Seminole County up to 1913.
    • Name and identify ten prominent citizens of Midway who excelled in different fields of endeavor including athletics, law, and medicine.



Current Cities / Towns / Communities


Settlements Time Passed By

    • Trace the history of a Seminole County town or village from the list below, from its earliest establishment through its growth and development to the present time.
    • Altamonte
    • Casselberry
    • Chuluota
    • Fort Reed/Reid
    • Forest City
    • Geneva
    • Goldenrod
    • Goldsboro
    • Lake Mary
    • Longwood
    • Oviedo
    • Sanford
    • Slavia
    • Wekiva
    • Winter Springs
    • Research the life of an early prominent citizen, living in one of the above cities and analyze the impact of his or her efforts.
    • Ghost towns are found not only out West but also in Seminole County. Trace the history of a Seminole County town or village below, from its earliest establishment through its demise. Explain the reasons for its failure to thrive.
    • Buda
    • Fort Reid
    • Gabriella
    • Goldsboro
    • Jamestown
    • Markham
    • Mellonville
    • New Upsala
    • Osceola
    • Sylvan Lake
    • Research the life of an early prominent citizen, living in one of the above settlements and analyze the impact of his or her efforts.


    • Create a flow chart reflecting the history of Seminole County education from its first school to the present.
    • Research the source of revenues of public education in Seminole County. Compare today's operating cost with that of 1881, 1920, 1950, and 1970.
    • Seminole County Schools began racial integration in 1966. Research the problems encountered by those involved in achieving early integration.
    • Seminole County Schools began racial integration in 1966, but had been under a Desegregation Order until 2003. Discuss the obstacles to a truly racially balanced educational system.
    • Research the projected expansion and direction of Seminole County Public education today.

Yesterday and Today

    • Today's Orlando Sanford International Airport is a bustling international terminal. Trace its history from 1942 to the present.
    • Sanford's River Walk is a place of shops, restaurants, and parks. Imagine if Sanford's Waterfront could speak to us today. Have it narrate its own story from the 1830's to the present.
    • Research the large structure at 1000, East First Street in Sanford. Trace its multiple uses from its construction to today.
    • Shopping in Seminole County has evolved from family owned businesses to today's modern malls. Investigate the demographics of mall development to the potential community it would serve and analyze one such specific example.
    • Research the history of one particular historical building in your community.
    • Suburban growth is rapidly covering former farmlands of Seminole County. Research environmental, economic, and governmental concerns of this growth.
    • Imagine that you are the Big Tree, the Senator. Narrate your life from a seedling.
    • The land on which you live has a long and documented history. Research deeds, claims, and surveys of your property and its change over time.
    • Acquire photographs of well-known structures, roads, and intersections as they appeared in times past. Photograph the same places today. Write an essay or create a poster using photographs to compare and contrast.
    • Create an audiotape or burn a CD with music your family might have listened to at the start of each decade, beginning in the 1870's. Research the social influences reflected in the music.
    • #17/92, #436, Lake Mary Blvd. #434, Red Bug Lake Road, Tuscawilla Rd., #426, #427, #419, Mitchell Hammock Rd., #417, #46 and I-4 are the major lifelines connecting Seminole County. Trace the history using 3 of these roads and how they impact local communities.
    • Visit the Museum for information on Big Tree, Orlando Sanford International Airport, 1000 East First Street in Sanford and Seminole County roads.
Created by The Museum of Seminole County History on 09/09/2004.

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