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CIHS shares local history through technology

By Staff | Apr 14, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED The Captiva Island Historical Society's YouTube channel.

As the island community shelters in place, doing its part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, one Captiva group is offering alternative entertainment for when binge watching TV shows gets old.

The Captiva Island Historical Society recently added its latest documentary, titled “Sands of Time: History of Erosion on Captiva,” to Amazon Prime for streaming. It is available for purchase for $19.99 and joins two previous films created by the CIHS, which are also available to buy for $19.99 each.

Board President Tom Libonate explained that the CIHS joined Amazon’s video streaming service earlier this year, adding two of its productions – “Buck Key: Island of Mystery & History” and “Blind Pass: The Bridge That Connects,” a joint creation with the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village.

“It was an initiative that we started in January,” he said.

Libonate continued that they had planned to add the most recent one, “Sands of Time,” in the near future. Then COVID-19 hit, followed by stay-at-home directives, so they pushed up the release date.

PHOTO PROVIDED Gulf Drive washout from “Sands of Time: History of Erosion on Captiva.”

“Something else to do (at home),” he said. “This has kind of been our thinking.”

“Sands of Time” chronicles the geologic and social history of the island’s coastal erosion, and “Buck Key” covers the surprising story of Buck Key, its Calusa occupants, and the early community and plantations that foreshadowed Captiva’s settlement. Produced in honor of the 100th anniversary of the first Blind Pass Bridge, “Blind Pass” chronicles the history of the place where the islands overlap.

The CIHS also manages its own YouTube channel, with over 40 videos to watch – for free.

“The YouTube channel has probably been in place for four or five years,” Libonate said.

The channel features audio recordings, interviews with local names of note and more, keeping in line with the mission of the CIHS, which is committed to the gathering, preserving, interpreting and sharing of the island’s history, while also providing education about the people and events that shaped its past.

Tom Libonate

“It’s a potpourri,” he said. “It’s a collection of many different things.”

“Everything from interviews, to past events, to trailers for some of our documentaries,” Libonate added. “It’s a combination of some of our earlier histories, some of which go back to Ding Darling.”

In addition, earlier this year the CIHS unveiled its self-guided Walking Tour of Captiva’s historic landmarks. For those who have not yet checked it out in person, the CIHS Website has a tab dedicated to the tour with photos of the 12 landmarks, including background on their historical significance.

“So you can basically take a walking tour without leaving your house,” he said.

Over the last month, the CIHS has also been trying to have more of a presence on social media and through its email subscription, like posing history-related trivia questions for people to answer.

PHOTO PROVIDED “Buck Key: Island of History & Mystery”

“We’re trying to keep our friends and supporters connected,” Libonate said. “To try and provide engaging, fun and educational ways to stay connected to Captiva’s history.”

“If you look at our mission statement, the most important piece of it is sharing,” he added. “We’re only an archive unless we share. We probably believe that’s the most important leg of our mission.”

The community is encouraged to hop onto any one of the platforms and explore what there is.

“Once you’re running out of TV series and shows to binge watch, here’s an alternative,” Libonate said.

For the YouTube channel, search for “Captiva Island Historical Society” at www.youtube.com.

PHOTO PROVIDED “Blind Pass: The Bridge That Connects”

For the CIHS Website, visit www.captivaislandhistoricalsociety.org.

Those interested can sign up for the e-newsletter via the site.

For the CIHS on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/captivahistory.