Monday, December 6, 2021

Leave it Up to the Marco Island Historical Museum

Always Finessing Unique Opportunities 
Ruminations from the Rock and Beyond

Photos by Jory Westberry  | As the sun begins to set, a warm glow is cast on the safely distanced audience enjoying the music by local musician Bill Beck.


After documenting and sharing the amazingly rich and colorful past of the Marco Island area and its wealth of historical milestones and treasures, the Marco Island Historical Museum, never one to rest on its laurels, initiated a live, outside music opportunity on the beautiful museum grounds in perfect weather.  

Local musician Bill Beck, who has a large fan base, could have drawn a much larger audience, but reservations were limited so each group could socially distance from the others in a space of their choosing. After checking in to verify their reservations, guests carried their own lawn chairs to a location of their choice. Some chose closer proximity to the music and others settled in cozy places near the lush foliage or under the trees. In all cases, participants were reassured by the space and, of course, the comradery and familiarity of Marco Island star Beck, who entertains frequently at the Snook Inn and other local venues.  

Several concert participants cozied up to the huge replica of the Key Marco Cat while listening to musician Bill Beck at the Marco Island Historical Museum.

While waiting for the musical to begin, many participants took advantage of the wine and beer sales that were near the music, and the Nonno Gino Food Truck also conveniently parked nearby. Participants made generous donations to the MIHM for the opportunity to participate in a safe, outdoor event on a beautiful afternoon and evening.  

To add to the ambiance, guests could walk around the museum’s perimeter and gaze at the large portraits of famous historical Marco Islanders while reading and contemplating the history that led us to this place and time. This outdoor gallery, along with descriptive narratives, is open to the public every day. There is also a beautifully painted Selfie-Station created by renowned artistJason Stitchcomb, on the Marco Island Public Library side of the museum. This is a perfect place to take photos of you and your friends with the life-like Florida wildlife backdrop and send them to friends, or post on website to show the places you’ve loved.  

The inside of the museum has been open during the day with safe distancing, of course, and visitors continue to visit with their masks on and minds open to learning. I spoke with a recent visitor to the MIHM, who said, “it’s inconceivable that I’ve missed this venue all these years; it’s so comprehensively professional. I plan to revisit often because there’s so much to see and share with my many friends.”  

MIHS Executive Director, Pat Rutledge, kicked off the evening with a warm welcome, saying in part “this is an experience we’ve never tried before at the MIHM, live music outside. Many of you have participated in live music and educational lectures for years, but this event is unique due to the Covid-19 parameters. 

We’ve planned this outdoor venue with fingers crossed for perfect weather and we have a great turn-out to enjoy a super, local musician, Bill Beck. If you haven’t seen the museum, be sure to add it to your list. The Marco Island Historical Society applied to borrow the Key Marco Cat for two years. It was a very long process that involved accommodating special security systems and more from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. We’ve recently been granted a five-year extension on our loan. This is unprecedented and speaks volumes of the Smithsonian’s confidence in the MIHS handling of this priceless artifact, and the others on loan, which you can view in the museum. 

The Marco Island Historical Society is planning on sponsoring another outdoor music event while the weather is cooperating, and this will be published in many formats so stay tuned. Memberships are always available, and your support of the museum is appreciated more than you know. In fact, your membership to the MIHM also includes the “North American Reciprocal” seal, which allows you into any museum in North America that has membership in this reciprocal agreement – free! 

Stay informed, check out the website for future outside venues and virtual educational lectures on local flora and fauna, resident dolphins, Marco Island history and much, much more. Checkout the website listed above and be sure and check out the museum.  



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