By Diane Bostic
One of the delights to be found in our very own Marco Island Historical Museum, the newest of Collier County’s five museums, is the well stocked gift store. Although small, it is chock full of beautiful and educational items for purchase.
With the holidays just around the corner you might be searching for something special to give to that special someone on your list. Look no further as the Museum Store has a beautiful selection of jewelry. Lisa Estrada’s necklaces and bracelets are hand made of polymer clay in colors to perfectly catch the color of our local waters. Shari Dixon’s nature derived jewelry artfully displays actual pressed flowers, python skin, bark and herbs set in resin for truly unique pieces.
Local Naples artist, Muffy Clark Gill, has made a life’s work of showing the tropical beauty and native Seminole life in batik form. Her paintings, tiles, purses, mugs, notepads and wearable art will catch the eye of anyone looking for something colorful and unexpected.
Handmade evening bags in zebra prints and tasteful color combinations are perfect accents for a night on the town, so perhaps an early gift for yourself or another on your list might be just the thing to add the finishing touch for holiday party attire.
It is not only jewelry for the body that is spotlighted in the shop. Jewelry for the home can also be found here. Lovely serve ware made from shiny aluminum from Mariposa catches the eye of the beholder as they reflect the light shining upon them. Mother Earth is also reflected in bowls and mugs made of clay and wood for those looking for a more rustic look. Any of these items would add to the beauty and feeling of hospitality in every home. And any holiday home would surely welcome the addition of the Marco Island Historical Society’s very own 2012 collectible Christmas ornament commemorating the “Key Marco Cat,” specially designed by artist Muffy Clark Gill.
Another local artist, Nora Butler, has taken her cue from the flora and fauna of Florida’s great outdoors and incorporated it into a whimsical array of giclees, wearables and gift items for those seeking something colorful and unusual. Each drawing includes not just the shape of the fish or animal itself, but also elements from the environment of the subject. All of it is done in vivid colors which, together, tell a story within a story.
The museum is especially proud of its selection of books spotlighting the history of Marco, Naples and the surrounding areas. Many of the books were written by local authors after extensive research and interviews with native settlers of the area. A number of them, such as “The Last Paradise,” “Tommie Barfield” and “The Tale of Two Villages” are difficult to find in other book stores.
Children have not been forgotten in the shop and there is an exciting selection of educational and fun gifts to be found for their delight and entertainment.
Rounding out the items being offered are replicas of the “Key Marco Cat” and native masks such as those found in the Cushing archeological dig in the north end of the island in the late 1800’s.
A visit to the museum shop is a fitting and fun end to a tour of the Marco Island Historical Museum but it is also worthy of a trip just to enjoy the shopping experience and perhaps find that one of a kind treasure you’ve been searching for. And, in the spirit of gift giving, you will also be contributing to your community and its legacy.
Find the museum at 180 S. Heathwood Drive. The museum is free, so make sure to look through its four galleries while you holiday shop in the beautiful gift shop. For more information call the Marco Island Historical Museum at (239) 389-6447.