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Manatee Village Historical Park Announces New Exhibit

Living Off the Land: Florida’s Pioneering Efforts to Make a Living opens in November 2022

BRADENTON, Fla. (October 4, 2022) — Manatee Village Historical Park is pleased to debut a new temporary exhibit, Living Off the Land: Florida’s Pioneering Efforts to Make a Living. This exhibit explores the various ways settlers in the mid-19th century through the early 20th century took advantage of readily available natural resources of the land and sea.

As Manatee County developed during the Pioneering Period (1830-1918), a number of commercial activities grew out of the environmental realities people moving into the area built upon. One of the earliest brought fishermen who set up seasonal camps along our shores. These fishermen set up semi-permanent Fishing Ranchos where they caught and prepared schools of mullet and other fish for Cuban markets.

In the 1840s, when the first waves of American expansion into the area started, sugar production became a major economic engine. At its peak, there were over a dozen sugarcane plantations established within the Manatee River area. By the mid-1800s and early 1900s, Florida’s population was growing along with its economic prosperity. With the development of steamship lines, connected to the first railroads, local businesses began to send products to ports and destinations around the nation and throughout the world.

Living Off the Land: Florida’s Pioneering Efforts to Make a Living will be available on-site at Manatee Village Historical Park November 2022, through November 2024. The museum is open Monday-Friday and 2nd/4th Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed on holidays and associated weekends).

The museum’s current exhibit, The Wars of Manatee, will be available on-site until Friday, October 28, 2022. Starting October 31, the second floor exhibit gallery in the Wiggins General Store will be closed for installation of the new temporary exhibit.

Manatee Village Historical Park is located at 1404 Manatee Avenue East (State Road 64) in Bradenton, Florida. For more information, email, call 941-749-7165, or visit

Manatee Village Historical Park is part of the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller Historical Resources Department. This program is offered in conjunction with the Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc.


The Clerk of the Circuit Court was established as a public trustee by the Florida Constitution in 1838. The Clerk of the Circuit Court serves as the Clerk of Courts, the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, Auditor, Recorder, and Custodian of all County Funds. In Manatee County, the Clerk’s office also administers a child support enforcement program, violence protection advocacy program and Teen Court programs. Located at 1115 Manatee Avenue West in Downtown Bradenton, the Courthouse is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Please be sure to visit our web site at


Photo Caption: Lanier family members in a strawberry field - Providence Region, Florida. 1915 (circa). State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.


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