Research & Archives


The Joseph L. Brechner Research Center was established with a donation from Marion Brody Brechner in honor of her husband, a prominent journalist and founder of WFTV Channel 9 in Orlando.

The History Center holds the special collections of the Historical Society of Central Florida, which has been collecting material since 1942. The Research Center is located on the fifth floor of the History Center, and is free to the public by appointment.

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The photograph collection consists of over 16,000 images of Central Florida in various formats, such as prints, negatives, slides, and postcards. From Daguerreotypes to digital photos, researchers can find images of prominent local figures, old buildings and street views, attractions such as the Central Florida Fair and Church Street Station, and many more. The photograph collection also includes moving images and over one million linear feet of film footage from WESH-TV Channel 2 and WFTV Channel 9.

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The society maintains a large artifact collection. Many of these artifacts are seen on display at the museum, but the collection is too vast to be publicly exhibited in its entirety. Items that are not on exhibit are housed at our offsite storage facility awaiting future exhibit. With enough lead time, researchers can request to see these items in the Reading Room, where they will be transported depending on the stability of the object.

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The archive holds a wide array of documents pertaining to the history of Central Florida. The 500 linear feet of storage includes architectural drawings, government documents, political papers, family and organizational papers, and citrus industry. Collections of note are: Dr. P. Phillips Citrus Label Collection, Joseph L. Brechner Collection, R. C. Stevens Construction Company Architectural Drawings, and Nally Family Papers.

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Research Library

Seeking more information about a historic property, a local school or other organization, or just looking to learn something new about our community? In addition to caring for the Central Florida Historical Society’s archival  holdings and its artifact collection, the Joseph L. Brechner also houses a research library containing over 6,500 published volumes pertaining to topics of local historical interest, including a complete collection of The Corner Cupboard, hundreds of maps spanning Orange County’s history, an expansive collection of school yearbooks, and a growing archive of oral histories that tell central Florida’s history in the words of the people who lived it.

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