Formed in 2005 in order to develop and promote historical exhibits and educational programs, The Friends of the Sarasota County History Center (FOSCHC) is headquartered at the Historical Exhibits and Education Center in the historic Chidsey Library building at 701 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.   The Friends (FOSCHC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization aligned with Sarasota County Historical Resources located at 6062 Porter Way in Sarasota and supports their efforts to obtain, assemble, and preserve Sarasota County historical artifacts.   As a non-profit organization, we are solely dependent upon donations and grants.  We do not receive funding from the County, the City or the State.

As the primary custodian of the historic Chidsey Library building and manager of the Historical Exhibits and Educational Center, FOSCHC is involved in the following:

  • Promoting countywide historical markers which increase public awareness of local history.
  • Developing and obtaining rotating exhibits such as Theodore Morris’s “Florida’s Lost Tribes” art exhibit, Crate Expectations: An Exhibit of Florida Citrus Labels, Paul Rudolph & His Florida Houses, and John Nolen: City Planner
  • Supporting and promoting local authors including Jeff LaHurd, Frank Cassell, Vickie Oldham, and Liz Coursen, and local photographers such as J.B. McCourtney and Virginia Hoffman.
  • Sponsorship of the Florida Humanities Council Speaker Series bringing  renowned Florida speakers to our community including Dr. Roger Smith, Mr. Eliot Kleinberg, Dr. J. Michael Francis, and Mr. Gary Monroe
  • Hosting individual historical presenters such as Dr. Mike Denham and Dr. Leslee Keyes
  • Creating and leading indoor presentations and outdoor walking tours throughout Sarasota County, highlighting historical communities, buildings, events, preserves and parks
  • Displaying artifacts and other historical items from Sarasota County’s Historical Resources
  • Promoting and assisting the local community in historical research and preservation

Our primary goals are to assist in promoting the use and enjoyment of the SCHR facilities and services, further efforts to assemble historical exhibits, preserve a constantly growing collection of artifacts and materials from our past, promote research for our future, based on the heritage of Sarasota County, actively direct activities that will develop funding for the facilities, and to design and implement policies and procedures to ensure its vision in perpetuity.