January 22, 2020 – The Sanibel Historical Museum & Village has approximately 120 volunteers performing a variety of functions to keep the museum operating as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Here, we get to know a few of them a little better.
Mickey Mergener started volunteers in October of last year. She is from Chicago, near Wrigley Field, and now lives full-time on Sanibel. Prior to her move to Sanibel, Mickey was in sales and interior design for Merchandise Mart in Chicago. She’s also an acrylic painter. She came to Sanibel after 30 years of visiting – something we hear a lot here on the island. As a volunteer, she prefers to work in the gift shop, where she enjoys the people, both guests, and volunteers. Her favorite building is Morning Glories because “it feels very comfortable. I love the painting over the fireplace.” Some friends suggested she volunteer at the village and, she said, “It was a great idea”!
Phil Mergener – the other half of the husband-and-wife team – also started volunteering at the village in October of last year. Also from Chicago, he now lives on Sanibel year-round. He was an estimator in his pre-Sanibel life. What brought him to Sanibel was the nature, weather, beach, and people. As a volunteer, he assists in Rutland House, where he enjoys meeting people and “giving back to Sanibel.” The Bailey’s General Store is his favorite building. He chose to volunteer at the village because of civic pride and to add to visitors’ island experience.
Heidi Hazzard from Osceola, Wisconsin, recently trained as a new volunteer. She and her husband come to Sanibel for four to five months each year. Prior to Sanibel, Heidi was a high school Spanish teacher, guidance counselor, and also a stay-at-home mom. She first discovered the beauty of Sanibel on her honeymoon. She and her husband enjoy biking and are planning to learn pickleball. “I love learning the history of Sanibel,” Hazzard said, “and volunteering at the village provides many opportunities to continue learning. I am grateful for those who have kept the history preserved. It is a beautiful way to give back to future generations.”
The Sanibel Historical Museum & Village always welcomes new volunteers to work in a great variety of positions. Anyone who is interested can call Executive Director Emilie Alfino at (239) 472-4648.
The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Full guided tours take place at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at no additional charge, depending on docent availability. 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.