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Historical Museum welcomes new director

By Staff | Feb 28, 2019

Janel Trull was looking to move up into either an assistant director or director position.

An 18-year museum veteran, she worked as an associate curator at Flagler Museum in Palm Beach for the past 12 years. Less than a month ago, she became the executive director of the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum.

“It’s a neat opportunity for me because it’s a smaller museum looking to grow. It’s a good option to get in and get my feet wet as director, but it’s small enough to be able to have a good support group,” she said.

At Flagler Museum, Trull planned and implemented temporary and permanent exhibitions and publications, including research, writing and exhibition design.

She also cataloged and documented items, acted as a liaison with other museum departments, and coordinated with the Collections Care manager and registrar regarding the care of collections on display and in storage. In addition to those duties, Trull also participated in departmental planning, budgeting and purchasing.

Along with her past experience preserving all types of documents, photographs and objects as a curator, Trull also brings her staff management experience to the job.

She says the smaller museum is an opportunity for her to get in there and get her hands on early objects and see how the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum should present the city’s story.

“What objects we have,” she said. “And what story we want to tell.”

The Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum offers public programs, educational programs, collection and preservation, exhibits, research and tours, including guided tours, school and education tours, group tours and Florida friendly garden tours.

Trull’s goals for her new role include helping the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum grow and adding more educational programming for kids and adults.

One immediate priority is increasing the amount of volunteers to accommodate all the people who walk through the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum’s doors to help with more educational programs, exhibitions, and other museum operations.

Trull would like the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum to become known for more annual events and more temporary exhibitions. She has a vision of doing more special crafts for children one day a month, more tours for tour groups and increasing the variety of exhibitions the museum offers.

What sets the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum apart from other museums in Southwest Florida is that it is here specifically to tell the story of Cape Coral.

Objects on display are specific to the area and local businesses.

“We start from the early days with pioneers homesteading on property,” Trull said. “The Rosen brothers and how they built Cape Coral into what it is today with all of the canals.”

Founded in 1957, Trull says they deliberately planned out the city with the canals. The Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum also discusses with visitors how the city incorporated in the 1970s, how it was planned, and the different operational elements of Cape Coral.

In addition to hosting exhibits ranging from Native Americans to present day, throughout season, the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum also holds events for fundraisers and the community.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know the town you’re living in, thinking of moving to, or visiting,” she said.

What makes Cape Coral itself unique, Trull says, is that they still have the ability to collect the city’s own history. There aren’t many places left where you can still get first-person accounts and artifacts of the history of the town since its inception.

“People who have lived here whose families have lived here since the beginning,” she said. “It’s interesting in that way in that we can be in touch with families who have lived it because we have so many people here who have been here since the very beginning.”

“It’s an interesting perspective to see how people grew from very little,” she said.

New to Cape Coral herself, Trull is still learning about its history.

“It’s not just about managing the museum and business office,” she said. “How to get people in the door and what types of exhibits and what types of events we want to do.”

As far as her legacy as the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum’s executive director goes, Trull hopes to see it be able to grow and she’d love to be able to contribute to that growth, including museum operations, increasing members and support staff.

“I’d like to see it extend to further buildings and become a mainstay,” she said. “When people think about the history of Cape Coral, I want them to think of us.”