For over 30 years, the Florida Museum’s Southwest Florida Project has been actively involved with numerous institutions of learning, nature centers, museums, and heritage-tourism professionals. Future work will continue in this cooperative tradition.
Institutional partnerships with the Florida Museum’s Southwest Florida Project and Randell Research Center (RRC), 1983 to present are listed below:
Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum (Sanibel Island): Florida Museum staff have provided advice, assistance and script review for temporary exhibits on Calusa Indians; also provided images and artifacts for the permanent exhibit, “The Original Shell People.”
Barrier Island Parks Society, Lighthouse Museum (Boca Grande): The Florida Museum/RRC provided advice, assistance, script review, and images for a permanent exhibit.
Boca Grande Historical Society (Boca Grande): The Florida Museum provided advice, assistance, script review, and images for two temporary exhibits; several public talks were given.
Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium (Fort Myers): The CNCP participated in the State-funded “Year of the Indian” project; received a share of the grant funds to provide a permanent exhibit, a multimedia exhibit for the planetarium, and a public lecture series; Florida Museum also provided advice, assistance, script review, images for outdoor exhibits; several public talks were given.
Calusa Land Trust (Pine Island): The Florida Museum/RRC contributed information on Calusa Indians for Calusa Land Trust publications. The Calusa Land Trust contributed funds to help purchase additional mounds to be included in the Randell Research Center.
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (Punta Gorda): The Florida Museum/RRC provided advice and comments on site development plans and participated with CHEC in an archaeological research project that led to better site interpretation and information for teachers; several public talks were given at CHEC.
Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (North Fort Myers): The Florida Museum/RRC provided a special site tour for CHNEP personnel and contributed archaeology articles for a CHNEP publication.
Children’s Science Center (Cape Coral): The Florida Museum/RRC provided advice, assistance, script review, and images for permanent exhibits.
Collier County Museum (Naples): The Florida Museum sent the traveling exhibit “The Fishing Heritage of Gulf Coastal Florida” to the Collier County Museum free of charge; also assisted Collier County Museum and Marco Island Historical Society with centennial exhibit on Key Marco discoveries, including loaning of Key Marco artifacts; frequent participation in public programs.
Department of Environmental Protection-Charlotte Harbor State Buffer Preserve: The DEP Buffer Preserve is the cooperating manager of the Pineland Site Complex; the Florida Museum’s Randell Research Center at Pineland is the lead manager. Florida Museum and DEP work jointly in exotic plant control and wetlands improvement projects at Pineland; Florida Museum projects, such as the Charlotte Harbor Mounds Survey, help DEP personnel manage sites under their jurisdiction; Florida Museum personnel help monitor archaeological sites within the buffer preserve.
Florida Adventure Museum (Punta Gorda): The Florida Museum sent its traveling exhibit, “The Fishing Heritage of Gulf Coastal Florida” to FAM free of charge.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Marine Research Institute (St. Petersburg): Shellfish biologist William Arnold is working with UNC’s Donna Surge and Florida Museum’s Karen Walker to determine the genetic characteristics of the different species of quahog clam and their hybrids. The collaboration benefits all three researchers.
Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers): Florida Museum curator William Marquardt delivered the first public lectures on behalf of FGCU before campus construction had begun. Today, the Florida Museum and FGCU are committed to joint programming and educational opportunities in marine science, archaeology, environmental education, and hospitality management. Pineland served as destination for FGCU’s required colloquium on environmental awareness. The FGCU archaeological field school was hosted at Pineland in 2001 and on Mound Key in 2014. Bill Marquardt and Karen Walker collaborate with Mike Savarese of FGCU in a paleoconservation study of local archaeological and modern oysters.
Florida Public Archaeology Network, Southwest Region: The Florida Museum assists FPAN archaeologists and educators, conducting joint programs and providing access to the Randell Research Center at Pineland.
Great Calusa Blueway: The Randell Research Center is an official stop on Lee County’s Great Calusa Blueway, a marked canoe and kayak trail through the Charlotte Harbor estuarine system. The RRC has hosted and participated in several Blueway festivals.
Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce: The Randell Research Center is a member of the GPICC. The RRC has participated in the Chamber’s annual “Mangomania” festival, and co-hosted with the Chamber the public event “Art, Authors, and Archaeology.”
Historic Spanish Point (Osprey): Florida Museum personnel worked closely with Spanish Point in site interpretation, an archaeological walking tour booklet, and in the “A Window to the Past” exhibit. A University of Florida archaeologist supervised a volunteer crew that did the excavations for the “Window” project, and the results of the scientific studies were published. Several public talks have been given at Spanish Point by Florida Museum personnel. Volunteers from Spanish Point and the Randell Center have paid enrichment visits to each other’s sites.
J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge (Sanibel Island): Randell Research Center provided archaeological research services in assessing resources on Buck Key; Florida Museum/RRC personnel help monitor sites in Island Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The RRC is also a regular feature of the annual Ding Darling Days event, including public programs and an educational tent.
Lee County Historic Preservation Board (Fort Myers): From 2002 to 2007, then Assistant Director John Worth served on this board, which assists Lee County Planning Department staff in historic and archaeological preservation.
Lee County Schools: Thousands of Lee County school children have had hands-on classroom experiences and personal visits to the Pineland site. Field trips to the Randell Research Center’s Calusa Heritage Trail have been conducted on a regular basis since 2004. The Florida Museum published a 16-page teacher’s guide entitled “Archaeology and Environment at the Pineland Site Complex.” This teacher’s guide was distributed free to all fourth and fifth grade teachers in 1997, and is sent to any teacher who requests it. Three traveling teaching kits designed by Florida Museum educators are available free to teachers for check-out from the Randell Research Center at Pineland. Training programs for teachers are offered by the RRC. The Calusa Heritage Trail welcomes students of private schools and home schools as well.
Marco Island Historcal Museum (Marco Island): Florida Museum personnel assisted in exhibit design and text writing, and contributed images to the Marco museum’s archaeological exhibits.
Mote Marine Laboratories (Sarasota): The RRC has been a research partner of the long-term Charlotte Harbor research project since 2002, and has participated in several annual conferences at Mote. In addition, bathymetric survey and subsurface probing were carried out as a cooperative project at the mouth of the Pine Island Canal in 2003.
The Mound House (Fort Myers Beach): Florida Museum personnel assisted in exhibit design and text writing, and contributed images to the Mound House “Calusa” exhibit.
Mound Key State Archaeological Site/Koreshan State Historical Park: The Florida Museum provided archaeological research services in mapping Mound Key and creating a color brochure distributed by the park. RRC personnel have served as consultants to State Park managers on public usage of the site and have worked with State archaeologists in assessing needs for site protection.
Museum of the Islands (Pine Island): The Florida Museum sent its traveling exhibit, “The Fishing Heritage of Gulf Coastal Florida” to MOTI free of charge; also assisted MOTI with permanent exhibits, including loaning of artifacts; frequent participation in public programs, including co-hosting “Trail of the Lost Tribes” lecture series and archaeological fair in March, 2002.
National Park Service, Southeast Archeological Center: Florida Museum archaeologists Karen Walker and Donna Ruhl directed a program aimed at improving NPS collections from the Everglades National Park. They combined this work with research on understanding past human-environment relationships in the Everglades and how they changed through time, 500 B.C. to A.D. 1940.
New Arts Festival (Fort Myers): The Florida Museum and Randell Research Center worked with renowned modern dance artist David Parsons in creating an original dance focused on the Calusa Indians. This was performed for the first time in 1997, and has been repeated several times since.
Pennsylvania State University: Paleoethnobotanist Lee Newsom serves on the RRC advisory board, and graduate students from Penn State are actively involved in archaeobotanical research using Museum collections from Pineland.
St. Petersburg Museum of History (St. Petersburg): The Florida Museum sent its traveling exhibit, “The Fishing Heritage of Gulf Coastal Florida” to SPMH free of charge.
South Florida Museum (Bradenton): The Florida Museum sent its traveling exhibit, “The Fishing Heritage of Gulf Coastal Florida” to SFM free of charge. Florida Museum curators advised SFM on exhibit planning.
Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (Naples/Fort Myers): SWFAS members have been integral members of the Randell Research Center team, working as volunteers in excavation, lab work, and site improvement activities. Over 25,000 hours of volunteer time have been logged by hundreds of individuals, many of whom were SWFAS members.
Southwest Florida Museum of History: The Museum (then known as the Fort Myers Historical Museum) participated in the State-funded “Year of the Indian” project; received a share of grant funds to produce permanent exhibit, public lecture series; Florida Museum also provided advice, assistance, script review, images for permanent exhibits; several public talks were given.
Barbara Sumwalt Museum (Useppa Island): The Florida Museum sent the traveling exhibit, “The Fishing Heritage of Gulf Coastal Florida” to the museum free of charge and also assisted the Useppa Island Historical Society with design of permanent exhibits including loaning of Useppa Island artifacts. Useppa Island was the site of the first phase of the “Year of the Indian” project and hosted Florida Museum/RRC research projects in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2004, and 2012; numerous public programs have been given on the island. The Useppa Island Historical Society provided assistance for Cuban archival research conducted by the RRC in 2004, with results being incorporated into updated exhibits.
Tampa Bay History Center (Tampa): The Florida Museum sent its traveling exhibit, “The Fishing Heritage of Gulf Coastal Florida” to TBHC free of charge.
Time Sifters Archaeology Society (Sarasota): Time Sifters members have participated in many of the activities at the Randell Research Center at Pineland; Florida Museum/RRC staff members have given several talks to the group.
Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage: The Trail is a partnership between public and private entities that provides responsible interpretation of the archaeology, anthropology, and natural history of Florida’s archaeological sites. By means of a color brochure and a speaker series, the Trail brings interested visitors to archaeological sites and promotes the understanding of the past. Florida Museum archaeologist William Marquardt serves on the Trail advisory board, and both the Florida Museum in Gainesville and the Randell Research Center in Pineland are Trail designated sites.
University of Georgia (UGA) : Archaeologist Victor Thompson has conducted geophysical survey at the Pineland site in cooperation with Florida Museum faculty, and collaborated in research at Mound Key, funded in part by UGA.
University of North Carolina, Department of Geological Sciences (Chapel Hill, NC): Geochemist Donna Surge and the Florida Museum’s Karen Walker have collaborated in developing geochemical methods that will identify signatures of paleoclimate in archaeological clam shells and fish otoliths. Their goal is to analyze shells and otoliths from Pineland and other sites in southwest Florida in order to reconstruct a human-climate history for the past two millennia.
Warm Mineral Springs Archaeological Society: WMSAS members have participated in several projects with the Randell Center and Florida Museum, including assisting Robert Patton with the Charlotte Harbor Mounds Survey Phase II project; several public talks have been given.