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Museum of History to hold free open house

By CJ HADDAD - | Jun 10, 2021

The house of all things Cape Coral marks a birthday this Saturday while inviting the public to tour its walls at no cost as part of the celebration.

In honor of its 41st birthday, the Cape Coral Museum of History will hold a free open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Cape Coral and Southwest Florida residents can explore more than 7,000 square feet of exhibit space and get a glimpse of how far the city has come in such a short time.

The museum, first dubbed the Cape Coral Historical Society and Museum in 1980 before a recent rebrand, has expanded and grown to house the Cape’s treasures and tales.

“I think it was a wonderful thing for such a young community to be forward thinking enough to have started something like a historical society,” said museum Executive Director Janel Trull. “The city itself was only incorporated in 1970, so the fact people were able to start collecting history is wonderful.

“As for our growth, we started in one small building and have grown to three, including our gardens and our programming for the city. It’s wonderful to see how much we’ve grown over these past 40-plus years.”

The museum will offer attendees birthday-themed refreshments while they get free-range over the museum and all of its contents.

While the usual tours will not be given, museum staff will be on hand to answer any questions attendees may have while exploring different exhibits.

“The museum covers the history of the area known as Cape Coral, so we do have information on the early Native Americans that were here starting with the Calusa,” Trull said. “We talk about some of the families that were here from the Homestead Act — late 1800s, early 1900s — before Cape Coral was even developed by the Rosen brothers. And then, of course, we follow that up with the history up until today.”

History detailed includes how the Rosen brothers created the city, including the dredging of the canals, as well as how local organizations played a role in making the city what it is today such as local businesses and the fire, police and health workers.

The museum’s newest exhibit that premiered last week highlights the 60 years of service to the city by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral.

On Saturday, those who make any purchase in the museum’s store will receive a free copy of Betsy Zeiss’ “The Other Side of the River” which details the early years and creation of Cape Coral. Zeiss also was a founding and instrumental member of the historical society and museum’s early years.

On June 29, the museum will organize a panel discussing the history of business in Cape Coral, taking a look at both the city’s roots and how they’ve grown to today and into the future.

The panel includes Councilmember Gloria Tate, former chamber CEO Mike Quaintance, Economic Development Office Business Recruitment and Retention Specialist Nita Whaley and current chamber President/CEO Donna Germain.

The discussion takes place at Coral Ridge Funeral Home’s event center to allow for social distancing from 5:30 to 7 p.m. RSVP is requested by calling 239-772-7037.

The Cape Coral Museum of History is at 544 Cultural Park Blvd. For more information on the museum, including membership, visit www.capecoalhistoricalmuseum.org or call 239-772-7037.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj