Summer hours at the Sanibel Historical Village begin next week.
Starting May 2, the village will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will close Aug. 5 and reopen for its customary season full-time hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Nov. 7.
"The museum's often busier in the morning, I've noticed, so I hope the affect on attendance will be minimal," said Museum Manager Emilie Alfino. "In any case, summer hours really are a necessity. Our buildings go back to pioneer days and are not air conditioned. While Sanibel's pioneers were used to the heat, our visitors are not. Therefore, they are unable to experience all our museum has to offer."
Museum board member and Gift Shop manager Paula Newton relates interesting facts to new docents about the old Bailey's General Store before showing them how to staff the Gift Shop located in the store.
The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village was founded in 1984 with a mission to preserve, protect and share Sanibel history. Its buildings and thousands of artifacts tell the story of Sanibel from the Calusa and Spanish eras to the early pioneer families who settled on the island in the 1800s.
Seven historic buildings were moved from their original island sites and brought to the village, located at 950 Dunlop Road next to Big Arts. The eighth building, the Sears kit home known as Shore Haven, soon will be moved to the village from its present location on Bird Lane. Each building has been restored to its original state. Volunteer docents share the stories of Sanibel with 10,000 visitors a year.
"Another reason to switch to summer hours is that many of our docents go north for the summer," said Alfino. "Volunteers are the backbone of our operation, and we simply cannot operate without a full complement of docents. If anyone is interested in becoming a summer docent, we would love to have you. We provide full training, and the shifts are just three hours in the morning."
Call the museum at 472-4648 for information on the docent training. There are audio recordings in each building to tell the story of Sanibel's pioneers and life on the island from the 1880s to the 1940s to assist the docents during busy times.
Admission is $5 for adults (18 and over). Members and children are free.