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Please visit the Bradenton Area responsibly. We encourage all visitors to follow CDC guidelines including wearing a mask and social distancing. For more information on visiting responsibly, click here.

Get Your Hands on History

History isn't always boring, especially at the Florida Mairtime Museum. This place has a unique way of telling stories of a bygone time while making you a valuable link to carrying time-honored traditions of the past.

Whoever said that history was ‘boring’ never stepped foot into the Florida Maritime Museum, a place that tells the extraordinary stories of life on the water and makes you the link to carrying on time-honored traditions of the past.

Nestled on a four-acre nature preserve in the historical fishing village of Cortez, the Florida Maritime Museum features artifacts, images, and replicas that tell the century-old tales of living on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a commercial fisherman.

But this place isn’t just for looking at relics behind glass, you are encouraged to get your hands on history at their Folk Art School, a unique place that teaches nearly-forgotten skills like net mending, soap making, and more. With almost-daily classes that cover an endless array of activities, there is something for everyone (and every age!) to enjoy.

Don’t worry, there are no quizzes or tests—these interactive classes make learning about area history exciting and engaging. You can learn the art of making (and casting) that perfect net to haul-in a catch, or how to tie sailing knots that are still very useful today.

Not only can you learn history that relates to the maritime past, but you can also master the art of making pasta by hand; how to make delicious, homemade cheese; even how to make your own candles; and much more.

 

The setting for these expert-lead classes is in the historical Burton Store, one of Cortez’s oldest structures that date back to the late 1800s. This preserved building was once the community gathering place where locals would purchase simple groceries, check their mail, and get their news from the only radio and telephone in town. Later, the Albion Inn was constructed around the old store, which served freshly-caught fish to tourists and travelers. The Inn thrived as a popular destination for winter visitors. There’s even rumor that notorious mobster Al Capone visited in 1928.

Whether you are day-tripping to put your feet into the sugar sand of Anna Maria Island or simply searching for an authentic Florida getaway, the Folk Art School at the Florida Maritime Museum should be included on every itinerary.

The Florida Maritime Museum is located in the historical village of Cortez at 4415 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free, but you must register and pay for classes. For more information, visit FloridaMaritimeMuseum.org or call (941) 708-6120.