Come aboard as we undertake a voyage in time and tradition. Our port of call is somewhere in the past, but the harbor is a modern museum facility housed in a historic 1912 Schoolhouse and surrounded by the park-like grounds of the Cortez Nature Preserve. Here you will find, displayed for your delight, pieces of the almost forgotten past.
The Florida Maritime Museum is a function of the Historical Resources Department of the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Courts and Comptroller's Office of Ms. Angelina Colonneso with support from the Manatee County Board of County Commission. The museum is situated on almost 4 acres of land in the historic fishing village of Cortez. This land is a Florida Communities Trust Property, known as the Cortez Nature Preserve.
Cortez Villagers have survived hurricanes, economic depressions and threats to their livelihood from a reduction in fishing grounds and regulations on the fishing industry. The residents of this community are passionate about preserving the past and ensuring that current and future residents and visitors to Manatee County understand the significance of Cortez Village and the broader maritime history of the area.
Founded on the importance of this regional, commercial fishing industry, FMM tells a number of stories pertaining to all aspects of Florida’s maritime history. Exhibits include historic photographs, boat models, tools, instruments, and other historically significant material relevant to Florida’s maritime culture and history. The museum is also home to a folk school that teaches traditional Florida skills and a research library that includes a variety of books, plans, logs, diaries, periodicals, letters, records and related archival material whose content is relevant to research concerning maritime subjects with special emphases on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Living in the Bahamas until I was 9, I have always had a fascination with the stories I may have missed hearing as a child and the history I felt I left behind. Feeling an innate connection to the sea, I pursued a degree in Anthropology at the University of Central Florida and focused the majority of my efforts on pursuing Underwater Archaeology. I forgot all about my love of stories. However, as I continued my education it became evident that my real passion was ensuring that other people’s voices were heard. I feel extremely lucky to be able to combine my work background with my love for the sea, and my passion, every day when I come to work.
History in general is my passion – primarily preserving histories that have been forgotten, or lost. I love being a part of the process that changes someone’s perspective, to see the change in a person’s face when they realize how relevant history is to our daily lives. I studied history with a concentration in Museum Studies from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (Master’s) and interned at the Earl Scruggs Center Shelby as well as the Mountain Heritage Center. My background in customer service, lends itself to the Education Coordinator position, as well as museum work in general, as everyone who walks through our doors deserves the best possible experience.
Visitor Services Coordinator
I am passionate about museums and what they offer their surrounding communities. I knew that I wanted to work in a museum at a very young age but I also knew that I wanted to be able to draw the people in those surrounding communities to their respective museums. I wanted to be the one who introduced the museum to the public. In 2013, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History with a Minor in Marketing and Art from Florida Gulf Coast University and continued my museum journey with the History of Diving Museum. I am thrilled to be a part of the Florida Maritime Museum team and look forward to the adventures that lie ahead with the museum and the Folk School.
FLORIDA MARITIME MUSEUM STAFF
a part of Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Historical Resources Department