Anna Maria Island Historical Museum gets a Makeover

After closing for the month of September, The Anna Maria Island Historical Museum reopened October 13th. While informative, now find a new look, new resources, and more island history.

Anna Maria Island Historic Park
Vintage photo of the Anna Maria Island Historic Park, the site of a picnic area with a fresh water well.

Anna Maria Island Historical Museum

Grant money made updates possible along with the hard work of volunteers. Additionally the Anna Maria Island Historical Society board members and preservationist Ashley Burke helped. The Florida Department of Cultural Affairs, Manatee County Tourist Development Council, Lizzie Vann, The Bishop Foundation, The AMI Chamber of Commerce Save the Trolley Fund and the Mary E. Parker Foundation all helped in funding the updates.

The entire museum is new. Additionally, it now has information presented in chronological order. There is a new color coded timeline showing the history of the three cities of the island with national events. A new maps kiosk has been added showing digital maps and aerial images. A map when the Island was called Palm Key is now on display. Also with information about the original homesteads from the Homestead act of 1862 and the Land Act of 1820.

Front Entrance

The Museums front entrance is updated. This allows entrance through the front door instead of the side door. New flooring went in along with thermal windows to protect the exhibits from sun damage. The historic park also received new improved signage. Additionally, this includes Pine Avenue, the Old City Jail, Belle Haven Cottage and the houses at the of city pier.

Anna Maria Island Historical Museum
A Grand Re-Opening in November.

Updates to the Museum go with the launch of additional features too. Now find a new Historic Anna Maria City Tour Brochure and the Historical Society You Tube page. The City Tour Brochure is a walking tour. Additionally you’ll find out what makes island history special. On the new You Tube page find oral stories and videos from local residents.

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum is located at 402 Pine Avenue open 10am-4pm from January-April and 10am-1pm May-December. Sunday Monday and the month of September the museum closes. Find the Anna Maria Island Historic Society Museum on Facebook. Membership is encouraged, however admission to the museum is always free.

The Historical Society is in Anna Maria City. Click here for more information on our great three cities and also some general information of Anna Maria Island.

Mailing Address:
Anna Maria Historical Society
P.O. Box 4315
Anna Maria, Florida 34216

The Galleries of Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – Anna Maria Island is not only a place to take in the natural beauty, but the man made beauty as well.   No need to go to a big city to view many different local artists.  A few names you may have even heard of such as Emerson, Sue Lynn Cotton or Barbara Hines.  You can either go to one of many local galleries, or gift shops on the island to find local work.  Some of our local artists can even be found in many of our vacation rentals.  Take a stroll through one of the galleries, and see if you recognize anything.

Art Space Deborah Webster
Dancing Water by Deborah Webster owner of Art Space Anna Maria.

Here are the local galleries for you all to enjoy.  Please click on the names below which will take you to their web site for phone numbers, hours and what collections are available for viewing throughout the year:

Artists Guild of Anna Maria Island – 5414 Marina Drive Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Anna Maria Island Art League – 5312 Holmes Boulevard Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Anna Maria Island Historical Society – 402 Pine Avenue Anna Maria, FL 34216

Island Gallery West – 5368 Gulf Drive Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Studio at Gulf and Pine – Corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue Anna Maria, FL 34216

Artspace Anna Maria – 101 South Bay Boulevard Anna Maria, FL 34216

Emerson Studio Store – 317 Pine Avenue Anna Maria, FL 34216

Some of these galleries will allow traveling artists to display/sell some of their pieces as well.  If you have some great pieces, and will be on the island for a while, this may be the perfect opportunity for you.

Sometimes you just need to slow the pace, enjoy life around you, and even experience it through someone else’s eyes. This is not hard to do when visiting the many fabulous galleries around Anna Maria Island.

AMI Historical Society – A Must Stop In Paradise

Your one stop shop for local history is the AMI Historical Society at 402 Pine Avenue. A visit to our island paradise isn’t complete without learning a little history. Here you can visit Three original island buildings in one location.

AMI Historical Society

The Historical Society formed in 1990 giving island visitors a glimpse into the past. The building which houses the museum was originally built in 1920 as the ice house. In 1927, the city built a jail next door, complete with bars on the windows which let swarms of mosquitoes feed on the unlucky guests who spent time locked up. The jail was operational until the 1940’s when a fire burned its wooden roof and door; it now makes for a great vacation photo! The most interesting building is Belle Haven Cottage… originally located on the Anna Maria City Pier when the pier was just a dock ….before it fell into Tampa Bay in 1926! The cottage was rescued from the sea floor and used as a home and rental cottage before relocating to its new location in 2001.

Inside these historical walls you will discover a myriad of treasures from days past collected by island residents. The old ice house is the perfect setting to see actual pine needle woven baskets made by Anna Maria’s original residents, the Native Americans. You can also peruse photos of the island in early days and see how fishing, sharks and even baseball shaped this island we love today! If you are lucky enough to visit on a Wednesday during “season”, be sure to pick up a loaf of Settler’s Bread, a rare treat!

For hours and more information on the Anna Maria Island Historical Society, visit You can even post your own photos of you in “jail” on their Facebook page!Anna_Maria_Island_Historical_Museum3-300x225