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Paradise Found: 6,000 Years of People on Marco Island
Marco Island Historical Museum prepares for major 2019-2021 exhibit
Key Marco Calusa artifacts together on Marco for first time since 1896 discovery
Marco Island, FL — July 18, 2018 — The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) announces that the MIHS has achieved its 25-year quest to bring “home” on loan the world-famous Key Marco Cat and other rare Pre-Columbian Native American artifacts discovered on Marco Island, Florida in 1896.
Several of the most significant Key Marco artifacts will be brought together on Marco Island for the first time since their discovery by anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing more than 100 years ago. The exhibit will be at the Marco Island Historical Museum (MIHM) from January 2019 to April 2021.
A free, public grand opening event for the exhibit will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2019, during Museum hours. It will include a morning ribbon cutting to celebrate the official opening of the exhibit, live music, an afternoon program/performance on the music of the Calusa by composer and musician Kat Epple and Anthropology Band and family friendly activities.
The Key Marco Cat has been described as one of the finest pieces of Pre-Columbian Native American art ever discovered in North America. At only six inches tall and carved from buttonwood, the Key Marco Cat is a charismatic anthropomorphic feline statuette that has captured the public’s imagination for more than a century. Other important pieces in the exhibition include a ceremonial mask, alligator figurehead, painted human figure and sea turtle figurehead.
The MIHS is mounting the exhibit in collaboration with Collier County Museums, the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The loaned artifacts will be featured within one of the Museum’s permanent exhibits — Paradise Found: 6,000 Years of People on Marco Island.
“This exhibition is the culmination of a long-term vision to bring these incredibly important artifacts to Marco Island on loan in order to educate and inspire people of all ages about the fascinating history of our region,” says MIHS Curator of Collections Austin Bell. “It has taken years of planning and discussions with the lending institutions and the continuation of a public-private partnership that includes the Marco Island Historical Society, Collier County and the community.”