Sunday, October 17, 2021

Marco’s Award Winning Museum and more



Donna Fiala

Gasoline prices – oh how they vary! The other day I decided to check all the prices along the route I was taking. On Marco the price was a very nice $1.99 – so much better than a year ago. Traveling down SR 951 I came upon a price of $1.98, and then right beyond that was $1.97. Turning onto US 41E by Hitching Post the price was still in the same range – $1.99, but then in front of Naples Manor the price went up to $2.09, then by Rattlesnake Hammock Road it went back to $1.99, then at Lakewood Blvd it was $2.05, but when I decided to drive a little farther to Airport Road the price jumped up to $2.19. That’s when I stopped driving further. Last week the price in that area went down to $1.94! What a great time of year to enjoy a lower price at the gas pump! During the holidays!

*Brian Barcic is 90 years old, and a celebration was hosted by his wife Shirlee for his 10 children, Shirlee’s two children, their grandchildren, and a few guests from Hideaway Beach. Two of those guests were Van & Jean Gates who let us all know they had a year up on Brian (you’d never know these people were 91 – so vibrant and engaged are they!) Also there to help Brian celebrate were Larry & Annette Garafola, Bill & Kathy Walsh and Brooks Wood. There was one little 4-year-old guy who fell asleep in his mom’s arms and then slept in the corner during all the festivities. So sweet.

*The Marco Island Historical Society and Museum have had an incredible year. They completed TWO out of three permanent exhibits in one year! The Calusa Gallery received the 2015 Museum of Excellence Award from the Florida Association of Museums, meaning this exhibit was voted the BEST in the State of Florida by museum professionals. For a relatively new museum they are already winning honors! What you see here are people working together for the betterment and historical education of the entire community! They have added a skilled staff to turn your Marco Island Historical Museum into a world-class facility. These same skilled staff members are now working on loan applications to the Smithsonian and the University of Pennsylvania to return not only the Key Marco Cat, but other significant Calusa artifacts. By completing the permanent exhibits, they have set the stage for those museums to consider our loans because these exhibits provide the historical and cultural context for telling the complete Marco story. To fund these projects, they have launched the CATapult Campaign, and thanks to many MIHS friends, they are more than 2/3 of the way toward completing their $1.2 million goal. In less than one year they have raised $884,000 in gifts and pledges. There is only $316,000 left to go to reach their goal! With a community like Marco and its caring people, there is no doubt they will reach that goal! Oh, by the way, if you see Bill & Betsy Perdichizzi in your travels, please give them a hug from everyone who cares about our history! They certainly do!

MIHS is now getting ready to start building their next exhibit, the Pioneer Room. Thanks to the original founders of the MIHS, there is a treasure trove of stories to tell. Imagine living here before there was air conditioning and mosquito control! They already have first-hand narratives and authentic artifacts in their collection. Once restored for display, these fragile timepieces will capture what life was like on Marco at the start of the Civil War and go right through the Cold War. With 1,100 square feet, the Pioneer Room will be a substantial exhibit that will immerse residents, visitors and tourists into a Marco only glimpsed in photos up until now. Their partners at the Collier County Museum system are funding the lion’s share of the exhibit at $300,000, and the MIHS is enhancing those exhibits, (as Pat Rutledge says in her warm and friendly letter, which is guiding me as I write) “think world class museum,” for a total cost of $45,000. By installing a floor that will recreate the look and feel of an old Pioneer Cabin and restoring several of the artifacts, including an authentic clam dredge, you will feel as though you stepped back in time! Congratulations to everyone who has helped, supported and encouraged this marvelous museum to become all we hoped it would be!



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