Cortez, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2020) – The Florida Maritime Museum is pleased to announce that it will reopen to the public on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, after an extensive renovation project, unveiling a “re-imagined” entryway, education room, and gift store in the museum.
The gift store features a “More than a Museum” exhibit showcasing photos and newspaper clippings from the history of the 1912 schoolhouse. Visitors can view the Blake Banks shell collection in the new “Captain’s Corner”, as well as stroll through a small maritime research library. Due to building maintenance in the Cortez room, visitors will also receive a fresh perspective on the auditorium gallery that has been combined with elements of the Cortez gallery until maintenance is complete.
These re-imagined permanent exhibits were sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture (Section 286.25, Florida Statutes) with matching funds provided by the Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum.
The next phase of this multi-phase project includes a new exhibit installation in the south room that will focus on early Florida maritime history. A date has not yet been determined for phase III. Construction for phase II began in June 2020. Anticipated completion was six months however the project was delayed due to construction limitations as a result of COVID-19.
The Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum, the non-profit that supports the museum, contracted with The Creative Pool museum exhibit design firm to spearhead the conceptual plan and fabrication for the museum’s “Re-Imagination” of permanent exhibits, in addition to the rebranding campaign that was launched in August.
Additionally, the museum will present the indoor portion of their “Caught in the Storm: 100 Years of Florida Hurricanes” exhibit, showcasing a full timeline of Florida hurricanes throughout the last century, when it reopens in January. Visitors can also test their knowledge with a hurricane trivia. This exhibit, available in English and Spanish, is supported by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of visitors and staff, the Florida Maritime Museum will be open for self-guided tours by appointment only starting January 19. Appointments will be available Tuesday-Saturday at 9 am and 1:30 pm and the maximum time in the museum is 1-1/2 hours. Registration will be available online. The museum is located at 4415 119th Street West in Cortez. To learn more and follow the museum’s progress, visit FloridaMaritimeMuseum.org.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA MARITIME MUSEUM The Florida Maritime Museum is located in a 1912 schoolhouse in the historic fishing village of Cortez. The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve and share traditional knowledge, cultural artifacts and personal stories specific to Florida's fishing and maritime heritage. The museum offers a snapshot of old Florida through a collection of informative exhibits, educational programs, community events, and research materials. The Florida Maritime Museum is a part of the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller's Historical Resources Department.