Sanibel Historical Museum and Village

Sanibel Island is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in Florida. The white sand beaches of Sanibel Island, along with its laid back atmosphere make the island nothing short of a holiday paradise. Aside from lounging on the beach and paddling in the crystal-clear waters, there’s plenty of other activities to try while on Sanibel.

One of our favorite things to do is to explore the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village.

About Sanibel Historical Museum

This one-of-a-kind attraction is one of the most interesting places to go in Sanibel. The museum comprises old homes and artifacts dating back to the 1800s. Here, you’ll discover the incredible history of the island.

History of the Museum and Village

The museum and village were founded in 1984. The mission is to preserve and share the history of Sanibel Island to visitors. The museum takes its visitors back in time and allows them to explore the past. You’ll experience the fascinating Calusa and Spanish eras and even go all the way back to the 1800s when the first pioneer families settled on the island.

Sanibel Island has a wonderfully rich history. You’ll hear stories of the warriors, explorers, farmers, and fishermen who have all contributed to the island’s culture over the years. 

The museum was created by moving ten historic buildings from around the island to create the village. Each building was restored on both the inside and the outside to re-create its original state. A replica Packing House was also built in the village, along with a retro garage, where you’ll find a 1927 Ford Model T truck.

What to Do in the Museum and Village

There are ten historic buildings in the village to explore:

  • The Caretaker’s Cottage – a 1925 building that has served as a guest house, a bathhouse, and a caretaker’s cottage. This building once stood behind the large Mayer family home, Shore Haven.
  • Shore Haven – a 1924 building that once belonged to the Mayer family. 
  • Sanibel Schoolhouse for White Children – this ancient 1896 building was once the one-room schoolhouse for the island’s white children.
  • Rutland house – a 1913 house in typical “cracker” style after the sound of cattlemen’s whips. 
  • Sanibel Packing House – a 1900 packing house where food was delivered and packed before being shipped north.
  • Post Office – a classic 1926 structure where the island’s mail was once sorted.
  • Burnap Cottage – the second oldest building in the village, this 1898 cottage was the homestead of Sam Woodring and other famous families.
  • Miss Charlotta’s Tea Room – a small 1926 building that was built to be a gas station but was used as a store, a tea room (one of the oldest and best restaurants in Sanibel), and finally a private residence.
  • Old Bailey General Store – a 1927 building that once acted as the general store. Note the hurricane-proofing on the structure.
  • Morning Glories Cottage – an adorable 1925 blue cottage that shows you a typical 20s and 30s winter home.

Hours, Directions, and Information

You’ll find the village at 950 Dunlop Road FL 33957

Depending on when you’re visiting Sanibel the hours of operation will vary. Note that the museum is shut to the public on Mondays and Sundays year-round.

Mid-October – April (Seasonal Hours)

Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

May – June (Summertime Hours)

Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

If you are interested in arranging a special one-to-one tour with a historical expert, Emilie Alfino will be happy to help at 239-472-4648.

Find a Beautiful Home in Sanibel

Here at Schuldenfrei we have a wide range of gorgeous vacation homes to choose from. We have decades of experience in the Sanibel realty business, so we can always find you exactly what you need. Our homes are perfect for couples and families looking for a relaxing place to call home on this beautiful island. If you’re ready to find the perfect beachfront home of your dreams, we are here to help. Check out our Sanibel listings to start your search today.