The Cape Coral Museum of History is ready to start afresh in 2023 after suffering a catastrophic lightning strike just two weeks before being slammed by Hurricane Ian.
The museum lost power to its computers, phones and alarm system when lightning hit the building. Two weeks later, Ian hit, wiping out all end-of-the-year programming. The museum’s director says despite all the setbacks, the museum is pushing through to next year. The staff is working with city officials to ensure that, during the rebuilding process, no one removes anything that showcases how special Cape Coral is.
Museum staffers know most people want to put 2022 behind them, but they believe it is critical that we remember our past because it shapes the future.
Many of Cape Coral’s most treasured relics are kept safe behind a door at the Museum of History on Cultural Park Boulevard: street signs, homesteaders and even many golf clubs. 50 years of memories are preserved there, but for Executive Director Janel Trul, 2022 will always be among the most difficult.
“We had a lightning strike—unexpected, of course—and that took the buildings down for about two weeks,” Trul said. “And then, sure enough, a tropical storm is coming. And then a hurricane is coming. And then it was Hurricane Ian.”
A historic moment Trul says she didn’t see coming. The museum itself suffered minimal damage to the roof and rose garden. She knows it’s a much different story for people in other Cape Coral neighborhoods.
“Our city itself is not very old, to begin with,” Trul said. “To potentially lose some of those really early homes and businesses and locations sort of wipes away some of that history.”
“You can never go forward if you don’t remember how you started,” said Gloria state, president of the Cape Coral Museum of History. “I know the Yacht Club is a passion of mine, and we’re going to find out more about that as council does strategic planning in January. But that is very near and dear to my heart.”
The museum plans to remodel in 2023, modernizing it with new technology while still keeping history alive.