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Historical village wraps up another successful season



The memory of a nearly lost 2020 faded as attendance and regular programs resumed at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village in the late fall and early winter of last year, officials reported.

While attendance declined 19 percent over 2019, April through July of 2021 showed a 14 percent increase in attendance over the same period in 2019.

“We feel good about the rebound in visitor numbers,” Executive Director Emilie Alfino said. “The precautions we took to deal with COVID made visitors feel safe, and they slowly started to come back to the village and take part in our programs in ever-increasing numbers.”

It temporarily lost some volunteers who chose to isolate at home. Nevertheless, volunteers worked more than 3,000 hours last season. They worked in the gift shop, decorated for the holidays and helped guide people through the village. The regular docent-led tours were suspended for safety’s sake, but volunteers located in three key positions throughout the village helped guide visitors.

“We were lucky to be able to hold the gala fundraiser in February just in the nick of time before everything shut down,” she said. “It was a rewarding event with a sold-out generous crowd.”

SANIBEL HISTORICAL MUSEUM AND VILLAGE Committee for last year's “It Takes a Village” gala fundraiser to benefit the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village.

Three Volunteer Updates were held. They are causal noon-time events with speakers who have various backgrounds and stories to tell about Sanibel. The topics were “The History of Shelling on Sanibel,” “Black History on Sanibel” and “The Algiers.” The events are also open to members at the $150 level or above, and they are available online at www.sanibelmuseum.org.

Two Twilight Talks were held outdoors and in accordance with CDC guidelines. One was “Fishy Stories of Sanibel,” and the other was “Taking a Bite Out of Sanibel: The Mosquito Story.” Both were sold-out events. The Twilight Talks are also available online at www.sanibelmuseum.org.

A busy season is planned for 2021-22, including a Gala Movie Premiere on Feb. 2, four volunteer training sessions, a ribbon cutting on a newly built pavilion, and three Volunteer Updates with the titles of “State of the Village,” “Our Buildings Have A Past” and “Growing Up on the Bay.” Next season’s Twilight Talks will be “The History of Tarpon Bay” and “God and Sanibel: The History of Religion on Sanibel,” which will be held at The Community House.

Currently closed for the off-season, the village will reopen to the public on Oct. 19.

“We thank everyone and especially our members, donors and the community of Sanibel, all of whom make it possible for us to fulfill our mission to preserve, share and celebrate the history of Sanibel,” Alfino said.

SANIBEL HISTORICAL MUSEUM AND VILLAGE Holiday decorating team at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village.

For more information, call 239-472-4648 or visit www.sanibelmuseum.org.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is at 950 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.