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Folk School at the Florida Maritime Museum

Just across the Cortez Street Bridge is the “Old Florida” style Historic Fishing Village of Cortez. Visitors to this area are invited to take a stroll through yesteryear. The Cortez Fishing Village has lots of unique shops and the best seafood restaurants around. Guests to the island can also stop by the Folk School at the Florida Maritime Museum and learn all about the rich heritage of commercial fishing on the Gulf Coast.

florida maritime museum folk school

Come explore the Folk School at the Florida Maritime Museum and learn all about the commercial fishing industry that the community of Cortez was built on.

Located in a historic 1912 schoolhouse on the Cortez Nature Preserve, the Folk School offers guests the opportunity to browse through unique exhibits including books, logs, diaries, letters, and records to better understand what it was like to be a fisherman in the Anna Maria Island area in past years.

Fishermen in the Cortez area faced many hardships over the years. They have survived hurricanes, economic depressions, and stricter regulations in the fishing industry that have made work difficult for them. The Folk School can do so Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm at 4415 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215.

cortez village folk school

In addition to checking out the museum, guests to the Folk School can also take classes on writing memoirs, brewing kombucha, painting with a fish, canning tomatoes, singing traditional songs of sailors, and more! These fun activities are offered throughout the year and make for an unforgettable vacation on Anna Maria Island! The folk skills and heritage crafts of Cortez Fishing Village seek to preserve the stories and cultural artifacts of the Cortez Fishing Village. Register for an event on the Florida Maritime Museum website. All materials and supplies are provided by the Florida Maritime Museum and are included in the registration fee.

When you’re done trying your hand at making soap, candles, fresh cheese, or even blacksmithing, head on over to the Florida Maritime Museum building to view the Blake Banks Shell collection, ship models, and the Maritime library. The Blake Banks Shell Collection is an expansive collection of sea shells that Captain Blake Banks curated from all over the Gulf of Mexico during his years as a ship captain. The boat models exhibit features interesting information about different boat designs and the roles that they played in Florida’s Maritime history. Lastly, the Maritime Library is home to a small library of books that cover topics such as folk tales from the early days of Florida’s settlement communities to boat plans and nautical charts.

Cortez has a rich history, and vacationers to Anna Maria Island are sure to enjoy spending a day exploring this historic village and learning all about what it was like to be a sailor in the early years of Anna Maria Island.

what to do at the folk school

Stay within walking distance of the Folk School! We have several fantastic homes that are located right in the Historic Fishing Village of Cortez. Take a step back in time and enjoy the relaxing accommodations of Redfish Cottage, Tuna Cottage, Lobster Key, or Hunter’s Point. From having a Bayfront view at Hunter’s Point to a romantic getaway at Redfish and Tuna Cottages, vacationers can easily explore Cortez by foot from these properties.

For more travel tips, be sure and check out our “Travel Guides” section on our website. There you’ll find fun activities you can do on the island, a guide to restaurants, and more!


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