For a taste of the history of Sanibel Island, consider at visit to the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. Not only is it a place to celebrate the island’s history, but also to give a better understanding of its present and potentially its future.
Dedicated to telling the story of the island’s early settlers, ten restored buildings in the village help visitors understand what it was likely to be fishermen, farmers, teachers and even members of the clergy on Sanibel Island back in its early years. One of the buildings is the Rutland House, constructed in the early 1900s.
There’s also a general store of the same time period and a small garden. A charming old cottage depicts the type of home that could have been selected from a 1925 Sears Roebuck catalog, meanwhile an old post office comes constructed of salvaged mangrove lumber.
There’s also a tearoom on the property, a packinghouse and an old fishing cottage, as well as Sanibel’s original one-room schoolhouse. In more recent years, the museum added in another Sears kit home and a caretaker’s cottage to the site.
Once a thriving area for farmers, the Sanibel Island we know today is more heavily tied to tourism. Apart from collecting shells on its beaches, visitors often flock to the area to experience more on this island setting, and learn more about its history.
It’s estimated about 10,000 people visit the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village every year. If you’d like to pay a visit to the site, it’s typically open several days a week.
You will find that the location closes to visitors during the off-season, usually between mid August and mid October. There is an admission cost for those older than 18, but its free for kids to visit. The museum also offers some tours.