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Maritime museum prepares for centennial celebration

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

History abounds at the Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., Cortez. The museum has several family-friendly activities and programs, as well as a centennial celebration planned for November. Islander Photo: Mark Young

Nov. 10 is an important day in Cortez as the Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., celebrates the 100th birthday of the Cortez schoolhouse, the museum’s home.

According to FMM director Karen Riley-Love, the museum is planning a family-friendly extravaganza to celebrate.

The schoolhouse has witnessed almost as much community history as the items in the museum.

Riley-Love said the schoolhouse still means a lot to the community as an educational institution, the host site of community square dances, children’s plays and performances, and as a shelter during the 1921 hurricane.

The museum is seeking volunteers for the celebration, according to FMM curator Amara Cocilovo. Food and arts and crafts vendors, as well performers for narratives of schoolhouse history are being sought. Cocilovo can be reached at 941-708-6120.

FMM soon will be introducing new programs, such as a boat-building program, which is at the very heart of Cortez’s maritime history.

Riley-Love, in a press release, said families and community members will have the opportunity to build boats and learn boat-related skills in the historic Pillsbury Boat Shop.

The program will include building a “Puddle Duck” sailboat, “Skin on Frame” kayak, paddles and oars; converting a canoe into a sailboat and more.

Riley-Love said the driving force behind the program is to inspire confidence, build skills, get people on the water and make boating more accessible to families and community members.

FMM also is partnering with Manatee Village Historical Park, Palmetto Historical Park and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum to celebrate the opening of the Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton.

And FMM now features a butterfly garden and has begun offering Geraldson Community Farm shares. The farm is part of the community-supported agriculture program that promotes farmers.

The museum also continues to encourage new volunteers for its growing Friends of the Museum program, and donations of time, tools or items of historical significance are always welcome.

For more information on FMM and the centennial celebration, contact Riley-Love at 941-708-6121.

The Islander is the official media sponsor of the centennial celebration.

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