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Partner with us in preserving a piece of Old Florida.

Special Events & Programs

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Needs & Fundraising

 

General Donation

Unspecified donations to Manatee Village Historical Park will be applied to exhibit enhancements, outdoor signage, archival supplies, volunteer incentives, and to enhance the visitor experience.

Manatee Village Historical Park Restoration Fund

Increase Accessibility by Improving Pedestrian Walkways 

Many years ago, when the Village was first conceived, the existing pathways were laid by hand, through the efforts of dedicated volunteers. The materials used were bricks uncovered from below the streets of downtown Bradenton and Palmetto during repaving. The current project calls for the resetting of these historic bricks professionally, using sound modern practices which will help the walkways stand the test of time, and ensure the safety of all our visitors, while maintaining the historic character of the facility. The cost of the entire project – including Phases I, II, and III – is estimated at $30,000. Phase I was completed in August 2015 at a cost of $10,455. The Historical Commission received a grant toward the upcoming Phase II of the project from the Edward E. & Lillian H. Bishop Foundation in December 2015. Additional funding for this project was provided in part by the Walter Haskins Fund in memory of Stacey K. Haskins of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County in March 2016. Also instrumental in affording this project were fundraising programs of the Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc., including the annual Spirit Voices from Old Manatee cemetery tour.

Improvements to the walkways at Manatee Village are of great importance not only to aesthetics, but especially to mobility impaired visitors, of which we welcome many. In several areas of the Village, accessibility to structures and exhibits is limited to these guests by uneven walkways, walkways which are too narrow, and incomplete connections to features which have been added to the facility over time. The Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc. has made the stewardship and accessibility of its collections a high priority over the past several years. The completion of this project will help to achieve the next measure of accessibility to Manatee Village Historical Park’s collection of restored structures and the opportunities they present for visitors to connect with our local heritage.

Manatee Village includes twelve structures and points of interest which were originally constructed during Manatee County’s settlement period, between 1860 and 1920. Each of these serves as a sort of time machine - an educational tool and monument to those who established our community, as well as a place to create dialog which reaches across generations and bridges cultural differences. Yet, beyond these, there are many and varied benefits that come from historical preservation projects like ours. They keep our community beautiful, vibrant, and livable. Historic preservation supports community building by making our surroundings richer for having the tangible presence of past eras and historic styles.

In 2014, more than 12,000 visitors of all ages and backgrounds were immersed into Manatee County’s pioneer past through their “time travel” amongst the buildings and structures at Manatee Village Historical Park. Each restoration project completed is a testament to the success of the program. Our most recent success is that of restoring the 1887 Old Meeting House Church Steeple.
  

Current Preservation Project: 1886 William H. Vanderipe House.

The Vanderipe House was built by William H. Vanderipe, a prominent cattleman and store operator who served on the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners. The building was moved to Manatee Village Historical Park and is intended to be used for meeting space, records storage, and educational programming. The Vanderipe House project is an exciting opportunity for us to demonstrate that an historic building can not only be saved, but given a new purpose that fulfills modern needs and recalls our community’s historic character.

Currently, through a Community Development Block Grant, architectural plans and site evaluations are underway which will provide the groundwork for a comprehensive restoration plan. Funds are needed to continue the work that will be laid out with this plan.


Community Programming

Lectures, workshops, and other cultural programs are provided throughout the year, sometimes free or at a minimal cost to cover supplies, to bring high quality humanities presenters to our community and foster a deeper appreciation for Florida's history and cultural heritage. Community and individual sponsors help reduce, and sometimes eliminate, the need to charge an entrance fee for these events.

Manatee History Day Sponsorship

Manatee History Day

The Manatee History Day is a district competition in the National History Day program and is aimed at promoting civics and history education. This program engages students in grades 6-12 in the discovery and interpretation of historical research. Students choose an historical topic related to an annual theme and conduct extensive research using libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews, and websites. After analyzing and interpreting their primary and secondary sources and drawing conclusions about their topic’s significance in history, students work creatively and collaboratively to present their work in an original paper, exhibit, website, performance, or documentary. These presentations are held at the classroom, county, state, and national levels. Research has shown that students who participate in National History Day perform better on high-stakes tests, are better writers, more confident and capable researchers, and have a more mature perspective on current events than their peers. More information on this study can be found at www.nhd.org/nhdworks.html.

Each year, local sponsors, help strengthen education in our community and reward students for their hard work and dedication through support of programs costs, awards, and scholarships to help families cover travel expenses at the state and national levels of competition. Thanks to our 2014-15 History Fair sponsors, we were able to help support a team of 28 students who competed in Florida History Day and send seven students and one teacher at the National History Day competition in College Park, Maryland.

Manatee History Day sponsorship levels are as follows:

  • Platinum Sponsor $1,500 +: 12 awards, name listed in awards programs and promotional material, and will appear on the Manatee County State History Day Team T-shirts
  • Gold Sponsor $750 - $1,499: 9 awards and name listed in awards programs and promotional material
  • Silver Sponsor $500- $749: 6 awards and name listed in awards programs and promotional material
  • Bronze Sponsor $250 - $499: 3 awards and name listed in awards programs and promotional material
  • Friends of Manatee History Day Sponsor $1 -$249: name listed in awards programs and promotional material

Special Events Sponsorship

Our Special Events aim to educate the public about life in Southwest Florida in the 19th and early 20th centuries and development of the Manatee lands.The Manatee County Historical Commission believes that history lays the groundwork for strong, resilient communities. Understanding who we are, where we came from, and why is vital to developing a sense of place, which connects people to each other and to their community. Special events like these allow us to broaden the reach of our mission to include new audiences and to encourage the appreciation and preservation of our rich local heritage. They are designed to make local history accessible and engaging – even for those who may not consider themselves “history buffs.”

Heritage Days Open House now in its 38th year, is a free event held each March, and was developed to bring new visitors and old friends to Manatee Village Historical Park to celebrate Old Florida. During this event, visitors can discover what our community was like fewer than twenty years after the first pioneers arrived. Take a step back in time to mid-1860s Southwest Florida and experience life in Manatee County through living history interpreters and re-enactors presenting daily activities, military camp life, music, dance, and heritage crafts.

A Florida Cracker Christmas**, held each December, celebrates 100 years of holiday tradition in Florida. What began in 2009 as a way to show off splendid Victorian Christmas decor - lovingly created and donated by a dedicated volunteer floral designer - has become a favorite holiday tradition for local families. Now in its 7th year, this event includes family-friendly entertainment, heritage artisans, “make and take” seasonal crafts for adults and youth, visiting vendors and vintage silent holiday films, and even a Victorian Father Christmas - something to delight every age! 

Spirit Voices from Old Manatee** premiered in 2011 as an original living history program. For three weekends in October, volunteer actors in period dress personify Manatee’s early pioneers. Their graveside dialogs are based on factual, historical records and local legends. They convey tales of triumphs, tragedies, humorous anecdotes and common humanity. The program is an experience like no other, unfolding at the Old Settler’s House at Manatee Village Historical Park with a Victorian wake and continuing by torch-light, as the sun sets at the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds.Many visitors leave the show deeply moved, with a new appreciation for the differences and similarities they discover between themselves and the characters they come to know through the program.
Financial support is essential to present an entertaining show, support crowd control volunteers and committed volunteer actors, and to provide for guest safety and comfort. 

** A Florida Cracker Christmas and Spirit Voices from Old Manatee are designated as official "fundraisers" but these programs have also been effective "friend-raisers", forging new creative community partnerships. Funds raised through ticket sales help to support our mission of "Preserving Our Past to Enrich Future Generations" through community educational programming and preservation efforts at Manatee Village.  For more information on becoming a sponsor for one of our Special Events, contact Village staff at manatee.village@manateeclerk.com or call 941-749-7165.

 

The Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc. is a 501©(3) organization. Contributions to it are normally tax deductible under current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) codes. ID Number 59-1905082

Every charitable organization or sponsor that is required to register under s. 496.405 or is exempt under s. 496.406(1)(d) shall conspicuously display the following statement on every solicitation, confirmation, receipt, or reminder of a contribution: “A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) OR ON THE INTERNET http://www.freshfromflorida.com/ REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.” REGISTRATION #: CH418

Address:

1404 Manatee Avenue East 
(SR 64)
Bradenton, FL. 34208

Phone:

941-749-7165

Village Hours

Monday – Friday and 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month 

9:00am – 4:00pm

Manatee Village will be closed Tuesday, May 2nd for an In Service Work Day.