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Historical Village set to open Oct. 20

By Staff | Oct 14, 2015

Volunteer Committee Chair Karl Rodman and Museum manager Emilie Alfino. BRIAN WIERIMA

Now visitors of Sanibel will have more opportunities to visit the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village with its extended hours, while opening two weeks earlier than normal Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The Historical Village, at 950 Dunlop Road on Sanibel, will now be open Tuesdays, which increases its schedule to being open to the public five days a week, while the season will be two extra weeks long with the early starting date.

Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Full guided tours take place at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at no additional charge, depending on docent availability.

Admission is $10 for adults (18 and over) and there is handicap accessibility.

“The demand is there,” said Museum manager Emilie Alfino. “We would be getting calls and see people meandering around after we were closed. We’re here to serve, so we made the changes, which will be permanent.”

The new season will bring two big improvements which will be noticeable by visitors.

The first is the reconfigured entryway into the Shore Haven.

“There now is a big meeting room where there used to be a sun porch and kitchen,” said volunteer committee chairman Karl Rodman. “That’s where visitors can watch the introductory film. The other big improvement is in the Caretaker’s Cottage, which is still a work in progress. There will be a closed loop film on Sanibel’s black history.”

The Historical Village started in 1984, with just one building on its grounds. Now, the museum features nine historical original Sanibel buildings, not including Shore Haven, with a Museum Shop for visitors to purchase replica historical items and goods.

“The Museum Shop is expanding its goods, as well, and now includes replica Calusa artwork which was dug up on Marco Island,” Rodman said. “The shop will also be selling old-time preserves with Bailey General Store packaging, because of the rich Bailey history on the island.”

New pavers are also being installed throughout the grounds of the Historical Village.

“That should take care any flooding issues we had and there will be no more drop-offs anymore, which improves safety,” Alfino said.

The Historical Village caters to two groups of people, which include the residents who bring guests and the visitors of the island.

To expand on promoting history and education about Sanibel, the Historical Village is working on a future project aiming to show how the island became a preserved sanctuary.

“It’s an important part of our history, so we want to convey that through exhibits or panels,” Rodman said.

All the improvements will be completed by Oct. 20, and the grounds should be in its usual historical, yet pristine, shape.

New volunteers are always needed at the village. Interested people are encouraged to call 472-4648.