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Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is a ‘cool’ place

By Staff | Jun 16, 2011

The second Bailey "Packing Company" a.k.a. "General Store" was built in 1927 and operated until the 1960s at the end of Bailey Road. The first Packing House was destroyed in the 1926 hurricane. The Bailey Family donated and moved the 1927 building to the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village in 1992. It has been restored to a 1930’s appearance and houses the original desk phone, store safe and cash register as well as Bailey Family memorabilia.

Island activities slow down in the summer months, but the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village remains open for summer visitors to explore Sanibel history and learn about Sanibel life in the days of our pioneer settlers before BlackBerrys and Blu-rays. The Museum is actually seven historic buildings, which have been preserved and moved from various island locations to the Historical Village. Each building houses artifacts and displays and is associated with one of more pioneer families. Visitors will learn about the Rutlands, Baileys, Matthews, Shanahans, Woodrings, Nutts, Reeds, Mayers and more.

Life on Sanibel is portrayed from the 1880s to 1940s with docents providing an overview tour of the Village and available to answer questions. A video presentation, featuring an interview with “Sanibel Son” Sam Bailey, and audio enhancements in each building help to interpret the many stories that make up Sanibel history. The Museum also includes a gift shop, which showcases a one-of-a-kind collection of merchandise that is all “Made in America.” Items include the exquisite shell artistry and sailor valentines made by Jim and Rose Prestiagiacomo of Texas, Gisela Dimandl’s beautiful pine needle, gourd and sweet grass baskets, and Barb Walling’s “All Sanibel Shells” wreaths. The Gift Shop also sells the exclusive Luc Century “Sanibel Light House” ornament.

The Historical Museum and Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG Arts) and open to visitors on Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is a $5 admission charge for adults; children (17 and under) and members are free. The entire Village is handicap accessible. For more information, call 472-4648 or visit the Museum website at www.sanibelmuseum.org.

This summer, spend a “cool” Sanibel morning at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village and discover why the Museum is called one of Sanibel’s “hidden gems.”