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“Nice, little museum on way to beach. Free admission.”

Florida Maritime Museum
Ranked #4 of 16 things to do in Cortez
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The schoolhouse was constructed in 1912. It was the second schoolhouse to be built in Cortez, a small fishing village that was established in the 1880’s. For many years, it served not only as a school, but also as a community center and hurricane shelter. After the school closed in 1961, it was eventually sold to master weaver Robert Sailors. Sailors made the building his home and studio. As a resident he made some lasting contributions to the property, including the “surprise fountain”. It was not until December of 1999, with assistance from the Florida Communities Trust, that Manatee County purchased the schoolhouse and an adjoining parcel to create the Cortez Nature Preserve. Residents of the Cortez community are passionate about preserving the past and ensuring that both residents and visitors of Manatee County understand the significance of the village and this schoolhouse. Because of their passion, the building was reopened as the Florida Maritime Museum in 2006.
Sacramento, California
Level 6 Contributor
255 reviews
117 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Nice, little museum on way to beach. Free admission.”
Reviewed July 4, 2014

Nice one room museum on the way to beach on left side of 684 before the bridge. Free admission, and an extensive library on boating and Gulf coast FL.

Visited July 2014
Thank micchio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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50 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
284 reviews
167 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 303 helpful votes
“Enjoyable And Informative”
Reviewed June 16, 2014

I learned about this museum from a brochure on the Gulf Islands. It is an easy stop off of Cortez Road on the way over to Anna Maria Island. The museum is free but worth a donation in the box at the end. There is also a small gift store. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable on the area. The museum has some excellent exhibits on the maritime and general history of the area, with a lot of old photographs as well as antique type items. Everything is informative and enjoyable and you can easily learn a lot in a short time. The museum is especially nice when combined with a trip to the Manatee Village Historical Park a few miles away. You can read about the importance of boats and steamships at the Museum and then visit the Village and see the old boatworks building.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank ERIC S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Quaint Museum full of History”
Reviewed April 1, 2014

If you are a lover of Florida Maritime and like the history of Cortez, this museum is a must stop! The people that work there are full of knowledge and enthusiasm to share it. It is a small, kid friendly museum.

Visited March 2014
Thank KellyZak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Small and charming...”
Reviewed March 31, 2014

After completing a walking tour of Cortez, stopped in this former schoolhouse to see the exhibits. I wasn't expecting much after reading some of the comment here but it was called a maritime museum so wasn't disappointed that the full history fo the village wasn't included.

A nice stop for either a sunny or rainy day as it does not take long to tour it. I did notice there are many tours that start/end here so they are reaching out for something beyond their 4 walls.

Visited March 2014
Thank norwoodpark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Fish History in a Restored Schoolhouse”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

So much of the 'Old Florida' has been lost and Cortez as a real commercial fishing village is one of the places you can still find it. This museum captures the history of this town and the Florida fishing industry in a lovely restored schoolhouse. The schoolhouse itself has quite a history and provides a setting for learning and preservation. The museum has an active group of volunteers that are present to share their stories and knowledge. Take a few minutes to reflect here before or after a stop at one of the fish markets or restaurants and you will not be disappointed.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank GGGKalamazoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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