About FLRC&M

Look back in time. Better understand Florida's past. Gain insight into decisions that help shape Florida's future. All of this can be accomplished by exploring records of the Florida Legislature, which document the experience of both lawmakers and their constituents. The Florida Legislative Research Center & Museum seeks to preserve this history and helps future generations learn about life in our times.

Located at the Historic Capitol, the Florida Legislative Research Center & Museum collects, maintains, and provides public access to important manuscript collections, artifacts, and other archival materials. Collections include the personal papers of some Florida lawmakers and other individuals who have influenced legislation in Florida.

Patrons are encouraged to contact the archives at:
Florida Legislative Research Center & Museum
at the Historic Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 410-2230

Mission Statement

The mission of the Florida Legislative Research Center & Museum is to collect, preserve and make available for research significant materials connected with Florida’s legislative history. The FLRC&M has an important collection of oral histories of former legislative leaders and is, at present, organizing an archive of significant papers, photographs and related materials.

Donate Documents to FLRC&M

Can I Donate Copies & Keep My Originals?

Just as museums prefer to collect original artifacts rather than reproductions, the FLRC&M prefers original records to copies. FLRC&M researchers prefer originals both for their readability and to ensure themselves of the integrity of the materials they are studying.

The FLRC&M can provide you free of charge with photocopies or microfilm of any small collection that you donate, or copies of selected materials from any large collection that you donate. In exceptional cases, the FLRC&M will accept high-quality copies of very significant materials should a donor be unable to part with the originals.

How Can I Donate My Papers to the FLRC&M?

You can call, write or e-mail the FLRC&M to discuss donating your historical records. You can make an appointment to bring your materials for review to the FLRC&M, located at the Historic Capitol, or send copies to the FLRC&M for evaluation. You will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift transferring to the FLRC&M legal custody of any records you donate and any copyright interests you hold in the records, thus allowing the FLRC&M to make the records fully accessible to the public for historical research.

Florida Legislative Research Center & Museum
at the Historic Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 410-2230

Letter by John Thrasher, Speaker 1998-2000

As I began planning for my term as Speaker, I was struck by a historical change taking place – the departure, due to term limits, of dozens of members whose decades of knowledge, experience, institutional insight and wisdom would no longer guide us in our daily business. I thought about what we could do to help members consider the past and facilitate their ability to make decisions about the future. I also thought about how we might better welcome the public to our legislative process.

I set out to accomplish these things by physically changing the Chamber in which members of the Florida House of Representatives conduct their public business.

We began with a vision of being surrounded by our state’s great history. We would encircle the members gathered to publicly debate, deliberate and make decisions shaping Florida’s future with visual reminders of Florida’s past and present.

We selected the gifted Tarpon Springs-based artist Christopher Still to complete a pictorial narrative, from the discovery of our shores and the first New World settlement to our journey to the stars from Florida’s Gateway to Space. He succeeded in creating a richly symbolic account of the struggles and pioneering spirit of those who helped form this great state. The backgrounds of these remarkable paintings feature the incredible beauty of our diverse water and landscapes, and the details provide extraordinary links across time and place.

My successor, Speaker Tom Feeney, completed Florida’s story, adding two paintings by Christopher highlighting the resources so vital to our state. One depicts the springs that bubble up from our fresh water sources, the other the coral reef symbolizing the sea that surrounds our peninsula. Both teem with sealife, reminding us of the fragile, diverse ecosystems that feed our economy and deserve our vigilance and protection.

Our second task was to create a comfortable workplace that would invite deliberation and encourage the free exchange of ideas among members. The old Chamber, with long, tightly placed tables, limited expressions of individuality as well as lawmakers’ ability to interact. Now separate desks give members of this diverse, deliberative body a sense of individuality they deserve. At the same time, desks are grouped to keep legislators mindful of their connections to the constituents they serve and to one another. Enhanced interaction has improved communication among members during the long hours of presentations, consideration and decision-making.

Finally, but foremost in our planning, was how to make the Chamber a more public place. All of us who served had the pleasure of taking visiting constituents to the floor of the House. Schoolchildren, neighbors, interest groups, friends and family can sit in the members’ chairs and cast make-believe votes. The old Chamber felt cold and uninviting, with portraits on the wall and names on the board that were unfamiliar to most visitors.

How different it has become, comfortable and inviting! Visitors can watch their legislators in action or scan the panoramic history of our great state. The paintings are meant to be viewed from the gallery as well as up close. In the public gallery, we even removed the glass barrier separating the people from their Legislature.

The members and I were inspired by Florida’s history and people in rededicating the House Chamber. History will continue to be made there and citizens welcomed. It is my hope that what we have done will inspire future members to remember our past and consider our many blessings as they lead us into the future.

John Thrasher, 2004

Florida Legislative Historic Preservation Corporation

In the fall of 1998, Speaker John Thrasher invited a group of former legislators and staff officers to form the nucleus of an advisory committee charged with preserving the traditions of the Florida House of Representatives. The committee, officially named the Florida Legislative Historic Preservation Corporation, is composed of former Speakers, Minority and Majority Leaders, and other historically-minded members. Some of the original members are listed below.

Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Historical Preservation

  • The Honorable Tom Barkdull, Jr.
  • Mr. Jim Berberich
  • The Honorable Faye Blanton
  • The Honorable George Crady
  • The Honorable Anne Mackenzie
  • The Honorable Lee Moffitt
  • The Honorable Sandra Mortham
  • The Honorable Dale Patchett
  • The Honorable John Phelps
  • The Honorable Ron Richmond
  • The Honorable Don Severance
  • The Honorable George Sheldon
  • The Honorable Earnest Sumner
  • The Honorable James Harold Thompson
  • The Honorable Marjorie Turnbull

Current Members

  • The Honorable Ron Richmond, Chair
  • Debbie Brown, Secretary of the Florida Senate
  • Mr. Bill Cotterell
  • Russell Hosford, Sergeant at Arms, the Florida House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Curt Kiser
  • The Honorable Frank Messersmith
  • The Honorable Sandra Mortham
  • The Honorable Dale Patchett
  • The Honorable John Phelps
  • Don Severance, Sergeant at Arms, the Florida Senate
  • The Honorable Earnest Sumner
  • The Honorable James Harold Thompson
  • The Honorable John Vogt
  • Bob Ward, Clerk of the Florida House of Representatives

Statesman’s Guild

In grateful appreciation for the guidance provided by these former legislative leaders:

  • The Honorable Lew Brantley
  • The Honorable J. Hyatt Brown
  • The Honorable Doyle Conner
  • The Honorable Ander Crenshaw
  • The Honorable Buddy Dyer
  • The Honorable Lois Frankel
  • The Honorable Jack Gordon
  • The Honorable Tom Gustafson
  • The Honorable Ralph Haben, Jr.
  • The Honorable Mallory Horne
  • The Honorable Kenneth Jenne
  • The Honorable Toni Jennings
  • The Honorable Bolley L. Johnson
  • The Honorable Dennis Jones
  • The Honorable James King
  • The Honorable S. Curtis Kiser
  • The Honorable Ron Klein
  • The Honorable Richard Langley
  • The Honorable Jack Latvala
  • The Honorable Philip Lewis
  • The Honorable Gwen Margolis
  • The Honorable Clark Maxwell, Jr.
  • The Honorable John McKay
  • The Honorable Lesley Miller
  • The Honorable Jon Mills
  • The Honorable H. Lee Moffitt
  • The Honorable Sandra Mortham
  • The Honorable R. Dale Patchett
  • The Honorable Richard Pettigrew
  • The Honorable Kenneth Plante
  • The Honorable Ronald Richmond
  • The Honorable Tom Rossin
  • The Honorable James Scott
  • The Honorable T. Terrell Sessums
  • The Honorable Ronald Silver
  • The Honorable Sherrill Skinner
  • The Honorable James Harold Thompson
  • The Honorable John Thrasher
  • The Honorable Jim Tillman
  • The Honorable Donald Tucker
  • The Honorable Ralph Turlington
  • The Honorable John Vogt
  • The Honorable Peter Rudy Wallace
  • The Honorable John Ware
  • The Honorable Daniel Webster
  • The Honorable T.K. Wetherell
  • The Honorable Doug Wiles
  • The Honorable Bill Young