HISTORICAL VILLAGE CELEBRATES OPENING OF NEW PAVILION

December 14, 2021 – The Sanibel Historical Village held a ribbon-cutting last week for its new pavilion, decked out in style with its timeline, oversized historical photos, new landscaping, and holiday decorations.

“We’ve been talking about a pavilion for years, to have a place where people could gather and where we could better facilitate the beginning of our tours,” said Board Member Gayle Pence, who was chair of the pavilion effort. “We also wanted a place to locate the timeline we’ve been planning for a long time. What’s great about having it in the pavilion is that even when the museum is closed, it will be available to guests walking the property so they can learn about and celebrate Sanibel’s history,” Pence added.

The pavilion is 28 x 24 and is equipped with water and electricity sources. It contains comfortable benches and could provide a good venue for a variety of outside projects. For example, last year’s Twilight Talks during COVID had to be held outside in the exact location where the pavilion now sits. “Wouldn’t it have been fantastic to be able to hold them in the pavilion for the comfort of our guests and speakers?” Pence said. “It just offers us a lot more opportunities.”

The whole Board thanked the Sanibel City Council, former City Manager Judie Zimomra, and City Staff for their support as the Village strives to fulfill the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village’s mission to “preserve, share, and celebrate Sanibel’s history.”

Pence offered a heartfelt thank-you to the many donors to the village who made the pavilion possible. She also thanked Benchmark General Contractors and foreman Brian Wood for their exemplary craftsmanship, partnership, and cooperation; and Amy Nowacki, the architect who designed the pavilion.

Board Member Tracey Tenney chaired the effort to do the timeline and other displays that are such an integral part of the pavilion’s exhibits. She first offered her thanks to Bonnie Frankel, Nancy Siegel, and Emilie Alfino for gathering the necessary data and ensuring its accuracy. Thanks are also due to Creative Arts Unlimited Inc.’s Roger Barbanier of Pinellas Park, Florida.

“What we wanted to accomplish with the timeline is to give someone taking a self-guided tour a tool to help them learn about the pivotal events and milestones that have shaped Sanibel,” Tenney said. “It also gives them an appreciation for how the island has grown from a rustic, undeveloped barrier island to the well-planned and charming community that we have today.”

Tenney said that the pavilion is a beautiful add-on to the village in and of itself, and the timeline makes the pavilion that much more purposeful. “Many of our visitors are self-guided, and the timeline is a natural way to complement the pavilion for guests looking for a way to enhance their experience. The pavilion provided the perfect home for it. Together, it was a win-win situation.”

The timeline has already provided a theme for future village events. It is a theme that has been incorporated into the Village’s holiday decorations, with individual timelines showing that each building had multiple lives.


The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In accordance with the city of Sanibel’s regulations, masks are required inside the buildings. Full guided tours are available only if reserved in advance for groups of no more than six, depending on docent availability. This precautionary measure is due to COVID-19. “We hope to be able to resume our regular tours, at 10:30 and 1:30, as soon as possible and within safety guidelines,” Executive Director Emilie Alfino said.

The Sanibel Historical Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG ARTS) and there is handicap access. Admission is $10 for adults over 18. Members and children are free. The village has handicap access to all but one building, the tiny Post Office. For more information, call (239) 472-4648 during museum hours or visit www.sanibelmuseum.org.