Women Gain New Historical Outlet with WHCC

The Women's History and Cultural Center room.

The Women’s History & Cultural Center (WHCC) of the Girl Scouts of Citrus is gearing up to introduce the world to its grand opening on March 11, 2023. Susan Ennis, Chief of External Affairs at the WHCC, says hosting the grand opening in March adds a special touch to the significant moment. 

“As Women’s History Month, it gives us an opportunity to establish the Center as a gathering place where people learn, network, and celebrate the women in their lives,” Ennis says. “As one Girl Scout alumnae [Queen Latifah] said when she was recently honored at Variety magazine’s Power of Women ceremony, “When we stand together, there’s nothing more potent. There’s nothing stronger. There’s no level higher, nothing greater, than when we lock arms and decide we want to do something.”

According to Ennis, the inspiration for creating the WHCC comes from a dream shared by a group of Girl Scout alumnae in 2005. They began collecting vintage Girl Scout items and forming the GSC Archive Team, whose vision was to have a small museum. The team shared this vision with Maryann Barry, CEO of Girl Scouts of Citrus since 2011, and began donating money towards the cause.

Eighteen years later, that dream has become a reality. The WHCC is the first in Florida to celebrate women’s influence on history and cultural diversity. It is also the first to honor the past while recognizing the contributions of women and girls today. 

The WHCC covers an area of 6,430 sq. ft. and comprises both renovated and newly built structures, including a new outdoor pavilion. It will be a place where women of all ages and backgrounds can gather to build relationships and strengthen their communities. Ennis shares that the WHCC is hoping to have rotating topic-specific exhibits. 

“Women representing various local cultural groups have visited the WHCC, and we are exploring ways to have exhibits and demonstrations that will teach others about our diverse community,” Ennis says. “Conversations with art advocates are evolving, and we hope to introduce youth to the visual and performing arts locally produced.”

The conversations are just one example of how the WHCC plans to engage and collaborate with the local community to celebrate and showcase the impact and influence of women on our history and cultural diversity. Ennis says there will also be opportunities to set up field trips with local schools and have local women’s organizations set up small exhibits at partner locations.

The WHCC is a significant addition to the cultural landscape of Central Florida and a much-needed educational resource. It is poised to become an exceptional venue for community members to gather, interact, and progress.

“Our intent is to ensure the Center reflects the diversity of our community— that it will continue to evolve to educate, excite and inspire Central Floridians, especially girls, to embrace the grand societal challenges of their time, create innovative solutions, and take the lead in advancing our community,” Ennis says.


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Written by Alexis George

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