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CIHS unveils updated gallery, new historical tour

By Staff | Feb 10, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Captiva Island Historical Society founding President Jim Pigott cuts the ceremonial ribbon during the unveiling of the refurbished History Gallery on Jan. 25 with current President Tom Libonate.

The Captiva Island Historical Society held its “History Two-fer!” event on Jan. 25, which included a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for its refurbished History Gallery and the introduction of a self-guided Walking Tour of the island’s historic landmarks.

A replica of the former mailboat Santiva, the History Gallery is located in the Captiva Memorial Library and represents the signature presence of the CIHS on Captiva. Having attracted over 35,000 visitors since its opening in 2014, the gallery has helped the CIHS fulfill its mission of preserving, interpreting and sharing the island’s history. Yet, like any good thing, it was time for an upgrade.

“Over the past year, the CIHS embarked on a renovation of historic proportions,” officials reported. “All the content was refreshed, a new exhibit was added, and the overall appearance was updated with new flooring, display panels and signage. Importantly, the renovation tapped into the latest technology, with new monitors, museum-quality equipment and continual loop videos.”

More than 30 attendees watched in the library’s lobby as President Tom Libonate recognized the founding board of the CIHS for its vision and foresight in creating the remarkable historical space. He also acknowledged the hard work of the current CIHS board in implementing the improvements.

Libonate thanked founding President Jim Pigott for his steadfast leadership of the CIHS and then revealed a plaque and life-like sandpiper sculpture dedicated to Pigott as part of the updated gallery.

PHOTO PROVIDED Entrance to the Captiva Island Historical Society's History Gallery in the library.

Also at the event, attendees had the opportunity to learn about the new Walking Tour. Inside of the Captiva Civic Center, a video played continually on a big screen with descriptions and photos for each of the 12 sites included in the tour. Brochures with the map and descriptions were provided, and CIHS board members conducted mini-tours, which included visiting the ‘Tween Waters Inn for a tour of “Ding” Darling’s iconic cottage.

The Walking Tour also includes the Captiva Historic Cemetery, Captiva Chapel By The Sea, library, History Gallery, Captiva Civic Association, Jensen’s Twin Palm Resort and Marina, The Island Store, City Dock/Pops Randall House, Island House, Williams/Riggs House and Gulf View Inn/The Mucky Duck.

The CHIS thanked the Charitable Foundation of the Islands for a grant to help fund the technology upgrade, along with Ken Sneeden & Associates, CIHS Archivist Queenie Viglione, Bob Johnson with Back Bay Property Management, The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, The Green Flash/The Mucky Duck, American Realty, the Klaskin Foundation and anonymous personal donors.

The library is at 11550 Chapin Lane, Captiva. The gallery can be accessed Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m., Thursday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For descriptions and photos of the Walking Tour, visit www.captivaislandhistoricalsociety.org.

PHOTO PROVIDED Plaque and sculpture dedicated to Captiva Island Historical Society founding President Jim Pigott.

Tour brochures are also available at the History Gallery in the library.

PHOTO PROVIDED May of the Captiva Island Historical Society's new Walking Tour.