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Cape Coral Historical Museum to reopen Sept. 7

By Staff | Aug 29, 2011

After being closed for two months for its annual summer break, the Cape Coral Historical Museum will open its doors for another season on Sept. 7, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to learn about their city.

Museum Curator Anne Cull said they decided to close during the months of July and August to up-date existing displays, put up new displays if necessary and do general maintenance. She said it is a good time to close because it is quiet during the summer months.

The museum will be open from 1-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

One of the exhibits that received an addition this summer was the military display. Cull said the addition includes badges and awards that different veterans received who were local residents at one time.

She said they dedicated a military room to the veterans because there were so many military people who decided to retire to Cape Coral when the city first began. She said a lot of the artifacts that are on display were passed on and donated to the museum by family members.

Before the museum closed in July, the staff opened the newly renovated gift shop to provide a more up-to-date look for visitors, along with more books about local history.

One of the best sellers of the gift shop, Cull said, is burrowing owl items.

Each season the Cape Coral Historical Museum provides a monthly program featuring different guest speakers about various topics on the second Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

The first monthly program will be held Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m. The program will feature Cindy Bear from Randell Research Center in Pineland, Fla., which is a program of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Cull said she will talk about the Caloosa people.

The monthly programs will run through May and the public is invited to attend all of them.

“I am looking forward to a really good season,” Cull said.

She said last year was great because they had quite a few visitors at the museum who brought their friends and families back to look again.

The museum has well over 300 members. It also has approximately 50 volunteers who are a part of the museum’s membership.

“We encourage people to join and become members,” Cull said, which is a simple process of filling out a form and paying yearly dues.

The membership is $15 a year for singles or $20 for a family. Corporate memberships are also available for $500 for three years.

The original Cape Coral Historical Museum building used to be the Cape Coral Country Club clubhouse.

Cull said the Rosen Building is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Coral. It was used for the original golf pro shop and snack bar at the Cape Coal Country Club.

Before the building was moved to Cultural Park Boulevard it was located at Four Freedoms Park in 1977.

The historical society was formed in 1978 by a group of community minded people. Cull said the group of individuals acquired the clubhouse building and began gathering artifacts. In 1983, the city donated the building to the historical society and in 1986 it opened to the public.

Cull said the Rosen Building is where the gift shop is housed, along with the reference library, which offers an abundance of resources for the community.

The museum eventually outgrew the original building, so they decided to build two additional buildings after they raised enough money. Cull said the builder built them with no profit to himself.

“I am very happy that we don’t have any overhead as far as outstanding debt,” she said. “We are all taken care of.”

Some of the exhibits include a homestead display of the people who were here prior to when Cape Coral became incorporated. Cull said their were approximately 12 homesteads.

Another exhibit includes information about Cape Coral when it was first incorporated. She said the information includes who the mayor and city managers were.

There is a also a Native American room that houses an extensive collection of artifacts. Cull said they have tools, fossils and a woolly mammoth tooth that was found in Cape Coral on display.

A 1960s room is another exhibit visitors will enjoy while visiting the museum due to information and maps of where the canals, library, churches, schools parks and newspapers were located.

There is also a memorial rose garden and Native American plants along the outside of the museum.

Cull said the best part of the museum is it is all looked after by volunteers.

“I am the sole employee,” she said. “They are wonderful. I am very thankful for them.”

The Cape Coral Historical Museum is located at 544 Cultural Park Boulevard. For information, call 239-772-7037.