Cortez, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2021) – The Florida Maritime Museum (FMM) will reopen starting January 19. Phase II of the “Re-Imagination” of permanent exhibits is complete unveiling a new look, engaging spaces and exhibits, and a higher level of accessibility with all new exhibits presented in English and Español. Visitation is by appointment only, available Tuesday-Saturday at 9 am and 1:30 pm.
Construction for phase II of the renovation project began in June 2020. A new and welcoming entryway sets the tone for the visit with inviting brand signage engulfed in deep blue walls. The south room sits empty for building maintenance, offering a glimpse into historic preservation and sharing why the Cortez Schoolhouse remains important culturally. Exhibits in the auditorium space have been shifted to offer a fresh perspective on Florida’s maritime history, building a more cohesive story with the changes in phase II of the Re-Imagination.
The “Caught in the Storm: 100 Years of Florida Hurricanes” exhibit is on display in the temporary exhibit room. Celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 1921 storm that hit the Tampa Bay coast, the exhibit showcases a full timeline of Florida hurricanes throughout the last century. This exhibit can also be experienced online and outdoors on the museum grounds.
A mural in the redesigned gift store highlights the history of the schoolhouse while also offering visitors an opportunity to support the museum by making a purchase. Finally, the new Captain’s Corner in the north room showcases a lighted case highlighting an “underwater” perspective of a Gulf Coast shell collection. A prominent feature of the room is the exposed brick of the original 1912 Cortez Schoolhouse.
All of FMM’s new exhibits are meant to engage the senses as safely as possible with limited touch and enhanced cleaning. 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.
Support for “Caught in the Storm” was provided by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
FMM is located at 4415 119th Street West in Cortez. Visit FloridaMaritimeMuseum.org to schedule your appointment, or call the museum at (941) 708-6120.
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.