Craig Woodward Hosts Florida Gulf Coast University Students at Marco Island Historical Museum

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. (February 25, 2024)–At Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A., we are intertwined in the Southwest Florida community in multiple ways, including preserving the history of Marco Island, Florida, where our law firm was founded in 1971. For example, along with a hand in building the practice as the first law firm on Marco Island, our very own attorney Craig R. Woodward saw a need to preserve the area’s unique history and served as president of the Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) in 2010. Craig’s insight then and over the years has kept the region’s mystique alive with his writings, presentations, and tours of Marco Island. Recently, Craig hosted students and faculty from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) for an inside look into Collier County’s treasured past at the Marco Island Historical Museum and Complex. Pictured below from left to right attending this enjoyable and informative day at the Marco Museum led by Craig are:

  • Ms. Ricky Pires, Founder/Director, FGCU Wings of Hope
  • Craig Woodward, Marco Museum Founder/Director and Counsel at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A.
  • Samantha Seibert, FGCU student, and intern for Wings of Hope, majoring in Museums
  • Matthew Tores, FGCU student, and intern for Wings of Hope, majoring in History
  • Ally Jones, FGCU student, and intern for Wings of Hope, majoring in Environmental Studies
Group of students outside the Marco Island Museum

FGCU Students Tour Marco Island Historical Museum

As part of their internships, these FGCU students educate over 5000 4th and 5th-grade students about the endangered Florida panther, wildlife, and the natural world with the FGCU Wings of Hope program. Then, during the FGCU Spring semester, they hike the students through the CREW Marsh Trails. They encourage the students to bring their families along on the hikes, building connections with nature and each other.

About Craig Woodward and the Marco Museum

Craig Woodward giving a lecture

Craig Woodward on the Marco History Day bus tour. Photo credit: Coastal Breeze News.

Craig Woodward was one of the Marco Museum Founders/Directors and heavily involved as it was built, including: helping structure the joint venture agreement with the county, which allowed MIHS to construct the buildings on their land; raising funds for the construction of the buildings ($1.2 million raised together with his wife, Bonnie Woodward); built a model of the museum to assist in fundraising, which is currently located in the lobby of the museum where the FGCU students enjoyed viewing it; hired the architect for the project; and oversaw construction. He was also instrumental in hiring the museum’s curator and was the Exhibit Chairman for the initial buildout of the exhibits.

In addition, a number of artifacts and exhibit items were donated by the Woodwards to the museum–including Indian artifacts unearthed in Old Marco, pioneer documents, and Craig’s mother’s collection of the Marco Sari dresses, a late 1960s, early 70s designer dress that was popular at the time. For over 20 years, Craig has conducted a day-long bus tour of Marco Island as part of “History Day” for Leadership Marco and written and spoken on Marco history for various organizations for many years. A series of Craig’s writings on the subject are found in Coastal Breeze News and are updated regularly.

The students, along with Mrs. Ricky Pires and WPL partner, Tony Pires, had an incredible day of learning about the museum’s creation, Marco’s colorful history, and viewing the artifacts, including the Marco Cat, an example of the Florida panther. It was a fantastic experience for all. FGCU appreciates Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. for serving our community and especially thanks Craig Woodward for his tireless efforts in educating the public about Marco and his dedication to preserving its significant history.

About the Marco Island Historical Museum

According to their website, the 2010 birth of the Marco Island Historical Museum and complex brings to life a long held dream of the Marco Island Historical Society. Created through a partnership with the MIHS and Collier County Museums, this newest addition to the museum system explores Southwest Florida’s Calusa Indians and features colorful, exciting and informative displays to bring this vanished civilization to life. One whole room is dedicated to a replica of a Calusa village and its inhabitants going about their daily lives.

Examples of items that have been unearthed from archeological digs, going back as far as the late 1800’s, are on display. Permanent exhibits trace the history of this subtropical island paradise from its early roots as an Indian settlement, a pioneer fishing village, a pineapple plantation and a clam cannery, through its explosive growth and development in the 1960s by the Miami-based Deltona Corporation.

The grounds of the Museum complex are landscaped with ponds, waterfalls and native, tropical plantings. These peaceful surroundings set off this gem, and include an inviting gazebo where one can take a few moments to enjoy its ambiance, including a large bronze replica of the “Key Marco Cat.”

Within the museum is the Sandlin Gallery, a venue for traveling exhibits. These exhibits showcase the work of artists from around the world illustrating, through various mediums, our local flora, fauna and the history of this area. Each new exhibit is celebrated with an opening reception to which the public is invited.


Craig Woodward In the News: A Steward of Marco’s Past, Present and Future

Related post: Craig Woodward Presents History Day at City of Marco Island 25th Anniversary Celebration