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Grand opening for Republican Museum of Southwest Florida set for Tuesday

By Staff | Aug 16, 2017

Only the second Republican museum in the United States is set to open in the local area.

The Republican Museum of Southwest Florida will hold its grand opening Tuesday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at 7910 Summerlin Lakes Drive in Fort Myers. The site will house the museum, along with the local Republican headquarters.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will feature tours.

“This is only the second Republican museum in the country,” Doris Cortese, president of Lee Republican Women Federated and vice chair of the Lee County GOP Executive Committee, said.

She noted that the other museum is in Wisconsin.

The local group came up with the idea for the museum while renovating the headquarters.

“We’ve had the museum in the works since February,” Cortese said.

“It’s a history from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump,” she added.

Financed by Lee Republican Women Federated, the 2,700-square-foot space is approximately 90 percent complete. It focuses on the history of the country and history of the Republican Party.

“We want to educate the people about the Republican Party,” Cortese said.

People attend events hosted at the headquarters, but the museum will be different.

“It’s a much better way to get their attention,” she said.

Inside the museum, there are “rooms” dedicated to the Republican presidents, like Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, the Bushes and Trump. There are photographs and memorabilia for each administration.

“We have an official invitation to his inauguration and the official program for his inauguration,” Cortese said of Trump. “We have the same for George Bush.”

There are pictures of Reagan in the Oval Office, along with a presidential cup and campaign pins.

Along one wall, there are 8-by-10 photographs of every Republican president.

There are even interactive features, like a pipe and stovepipe hat for visitors to take pictures with.

“It’s user-friendly and student-friendly,” she said.

Cortese added that they plan to host groups of middle and high school students.

During the grand opening, local dignitaries will be present.

Guided tours will be available, and light refreshments will be served.

“They are first ladies’ recipes,” she said.

Officials and staff will be on hand to answer questions.

“It’s going to be a real fun day,” Cortese said.

For more information about the opening, call 239-205-0646.

The Republican Museum of Southwest Florida will be open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To schedule a tour, contact the museum at 239-936-8779.