Useppa Island Historical Society


Upcoming Events:

Past Events


1/21/2023 - Speaker Robert N. Macomber - The Patriot and The Widow

Saturday January 21st, 2023

5:30pm at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

New Homeowners, Members and Member’ s Guests.

Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres will be served after the presentation.


Program: The Patriot and The Widow

Speaker: Robert N. Macomber, Multi-award-winning author

About the Program: The fascinating, non-fiction tale of a young mixed-marriage couple who became pro-Union refugees on Useppa Island during the American Civil War.

It’s a story of love, war, the bitter-sweet Christmas of 1863, and a woman’s incredible resiliency against daunting odds, with a poignant legacy which has lasted until this very day.

About the Speaker: Robert Macomber is a multi-award winning author, internationally recognized lecturer, history enthusiast and avid researcher, who grew up on the waters along the SW coast of Florida. By age seventeen, he was an offshore racing skipper and raced the next thirty-two years in Florida, Mexico and the Bahamas. When not traveling the world on research treks, lecture tours, or book signing, he lives on Pine Island, the same coast where he grew up. When not writing, he enjoys sailing among the more remote islands and cooking the exotic cuisines from his novels.

Mr. Macomber lectures at sea and on shore. He’s been guest author and enrichment lecturer aboard many of the most elegant ships afloat. He has spoken at historical and academic venues around the United States. His lectures span 58 maritime and literary topics. He has appeared in Florida PBS maritime history documentaries, and has been a featured author at state, regional, and international book festivals as well.

He is best known for his popular Honor Series of naval thrillers that describe the career and personnel life of a fictional naval officer Peter Wake, which starts in 1863 during the Civil War to the end of his career in 1908. The novels illuminate the U.S. Navy’s critical role in the expansion of America from a continental country in the mid-19th century into a global power in the early 20th century. There are 17 novels planned for the Honor Series and you can find a listing of his books and the awards they have earned by following this link.

2/18/2023 - Speaker Cynthia Barnett - Rain

Saturday February 18th, 2023

5:30pm at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

UIHS members and  member’s guests only please.

Program: Rain

Speaker: Cynthia Barnett

About the Program: Explores a natural and cultural tour of Rain, from the torrents that filled the oceans four billion years ago to the modern story of climate change, range is a shared experience. This presentation shares the history of rain and how the world can come together to live more ethically with water and adapt to the stormy times ahead.

About the Speaker: Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental journalist.

3/10/2023 - Fundraiser

Fundraising Event

3/25/2023 - Speaker Craig Pittman - Cat Tale

Saturday March 25th, 2023

5:30pm at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

UIHS members and member’s guests only please.

Program: Cat Tale

Speaker: Craig Pittman

About the Program: Florida’s school children chose the panther as the state animal, and a decade later it nearly went extinct. A ragtag band joined together to pull off a risky experiment to save them.  

About the Speaker: Craig Pittman is environmental journalist and author.

4/5/23 - Music at the Museum For Kids with Jillian Van Ness

Jillian Van Ness - Music at the Museum

4/15/2023 - Speaker John Pether - Wood, Fiberglass and Steel: The History of Boat Building on Florida's Gulf Coats

Saturday April 15th, 2023

5:30pm at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

Program: Wood, Fiberglass and Steel: The History of Boat Building on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Speaker: John Pether, co-author and director of the Gulf Coast Maritime Museum in Sarasota

Wood, Fiberglass and Steel

About the Program: The book and the presentation is about the history of boat building on the west coast of Florida from the Panhandle to the Keys. Enhanced by photographs and brought to life by personal remembrances and historical newspaper accounts, Wood, Fiberglass, and Steel is a fascinating tribute and depiction of how demand and technology transformed boat building methods and how the boat building industry impacted the economy and employment opportunities along the Gulf Coast.

The author will be selling books so please bring cash. There will be no IOU’s.

4/18/2023 - Museum Field Trip: Cruise to Tarpon Lodge & Calusa Indian Mounds on Pine Island

Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

10am to 3pm

Museum Field Trip

Cruise to the historic Tarpon Lodge for lunch and a guided

walking tour on the Calusa Indian Mound Trail at the

Randell Research Center.


in partnership with CAPTIVA CRUISES



Travel the waters of Pine Island Sound enjoying the wildlife and a narrative of “A Thousand Years of Fishing” in SW Florida. Get an up close look at historic fish shacks and observe fish and marine life during the trawling net segment of this cruise.

Please join us for this fun day on the water!

Captiva Cruises will depart Useppa’s dock

April 18 at 10:00 and return at 3:00.

Cost is $55 per person (Lunch not included)

You must sign up by leaving a check/cash at the

Museum or in our mailbox, or you can sign up

with a credit card in the museum (a small fee will apply.)

If you have any questions, please contact

Cindy Ryan at or

Carolynne Krusi at


4/9/2022 - Speaker Lu Vickers - Weeki Wachee: City of Mermaids

Saturday April 9th, 2022

5:30 at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

UIHS members and member’s guest only please.

Cocktails will be available after the event.

Please bring your masks. They must be worn when inside the museum.

Program: Weeki Wachee: City of Mermaids

Speaker: Lu Vickers, Award-winning author

About the Program: The fascinating history of Weeki Wachee Springs told through vintage photographs of the mermaids from their earliest days performing silent ballets to the heyday when ABC built them a million-dollar theater.

When Newt Perry sank a theater into the edge of the spring in 1947, he had no idea his mermaids would become world-famous Florida icons.


Lu Vickers

About the Speaker: Lu Vickers has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for fiction for excerpts for a novel in progress. She has also been the recipient of two Florida Book awards and three Florida Individual Artist Fellowships for fiction.

In addition to writing Remembering Paradise Park (with C. Graham), she has written the novel Breathing Underwater and three other Florida history books: Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids, Cypress Gardens America’s Tropical Wonderland, and Weeki Wachee, Thirty Years of Underwater Photography, with Bonnie Georgiadis.

3/19/2022 - Speaker Jack Davis - The Bald Eagle, the Gulf of Mexico, and the American Experience

Saturday March 19th, 2022

5:30 at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

UIHS members and member’s guest only please.

Please bring your masks. They must be worn when inside the museum.

Program: The Bald Eagle, the Gulf of Mexico, and the American Experience

Speaker: Jack Davis, PulitzerPrize-winning author

Jack Davis

About the Program: Jack Davis will talk about the integral place of the bald eagle and the Gulf of Mexico in American history and culture.

About the Speaker:

2/26/2022 - Speaker Cynthia Barnett - The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and The Fate of the Oceans

Saturday February 26th, 2022

6:30 at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

UIHS members and member’s guest only please.

Please bring your masks. They must be worn when inside the museum.

Coctails will be available at the front entrance to the museum after the presentation.

Program: The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and The Fate of the Oceans

Speaker: Cynthia Barnett, Award-winning environmental author

About the Program: The human fascination with seashells is primal. Archeological evidence suggests that Neanderthals collected cockle shells on the coast of what is modern Spain, perhaps giving preference to those they found beautiful. Here in Florida, the Calusa built “great cities of shell” on the southern coasts, later carted off for road fill.

In the 1950s, the nation burned with seashell fever only a Florida beach vacation could cure. But legend had it the best shells were found at the Georgia border; that’s about where cars headed north started to stink, and families had to pull over and dump their shells on the side of the road.

In her new program The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans, award-winning environmental author Cynthia Barnett explores the long, rich and surprisingly profound relationship between humans and seashells.

About the Speaker: Barnett has written for National Geographic, the Atlantic,the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Tampa Bay Times and many other publications.

Her numerous journalism awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades, which recognize outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states.

She is also Environmental Journalist in Residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, and a fifth-generation Floridian raising a sixth generation in Gainesville.

2/12/2022 - Speaker Michael Tougias - So Close to Home

Saturday February 12th, 2022

5:30 at the

Barbara Sumwalt Museum

UIHS members and member’s guest only please.

Please bring your masks. They must be worn when inside the museum.

Cocktails will be available on the front entranceway to the museum after the presentation.

Books by the author will be available for sale in the gift shop.

Program: So Close to Home

Speaker: Michael Tougias, New York Times best-selling author

Michael Tougias

About the Program: Michael Tougias will tell the story of an American family’s tale of survival and the U-boat that attacked them in the Gulf of Mexico in May 1942.

About the Speaker: Michael Tougias is the author and co-author of 33 books for adults and children including Above & Beyond, So Close To Home, The Finest Hours (a Disney movie), Ten Hours Until Dawn, Fatal Forecast, and A Storm Too Soon, King Philips War, and There’s A Porcupine In My Outhouse!


January 14th, 2021 - 5:30 pm EST

Program: Florida Soul

Speaker: John Capouya

Author, Pop-culture Scholar

About the Speaker:  John Capouya is an author and professor of journalism and non-fiction writing at the University of Tampa. During his career in journalism he worked at Newsweek, The New York Times, SmartMoney, and New York Newsday. His nonfiction books include the biography Gorgeous George and, most recently, Florida Soul.

About the Program: The people and the music that define Florida Soul, from Ray Charles, to Sam and Dave, James Brown to Bobby Purify and many more. This rich but under-appreciated musical heritage comes to life in music, words, and vintage photos.

Click Here to Register for the Event

February 11th, 2021 - 5:30 pm EST

Program: The Man Who Swam Inside the Planet

Speaker: Julie Hauserman

Journalist, Author

About the Speaker:  Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida’s environment and politics for over three decades. Her most recent book is about a National Geographic explorer – and Florida man – who spent his life swimming inside the planet. The biography, Drawn to the Deep: The Remarkable Underwater Explorations of Wes Skiles, won a 2019 National Outdoors Book Award for biography.

She has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, once for her stories about pollution in Florida’s Fenholloway River, and once for her stories about arsenic leaking out of pressure-treated lumber all over America. She won the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards’ top environmental prize for her work on the arsenic stories. Hauserman was a Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg Times in Tallahassee and has been a commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition-Sunday and Minnesota Public Radio’s The Splendid Table. Her essays are featured in several Florida anthologies, including The Wild Heart of Florida, The Book of the Everglades, and Between Two Rivers. She lives in Tallahassee.

About the Program: Julie Hauserman, award-winning Florida journalist and author of Drawn to the Deep, the Remarkable Underwater Explorations of Wes Skiles (University Press of Florida 2018), gives a striking slide show of photos taken inside Earth and a description of expeditions. She tells the story of Wes Skiles, a Florida man and National Geographic explorer who became one of the top photographers in the world while working in a place with no natural light – the planet’s aquifers.

Click Here to Register for the Event

March 4th, 2021 - 5:30 pm EST

Program: Hidden History of Florida

Speaker: Jim Clark

Author, Pop-culture Scholar

About the Speaker: Jim Clark is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Central Florida History Department. He has emerged as one of Florida’s leading historians, noted for his books and research. He is the author of nine books, and the editor of a three-volume anthology of Florida Literature.

About the ProgramSix out of ten Floridians come from outside Florida and know little of the state’s rich history. The Hidden History of Florida uses dozens of stories to tell the little-known facts of Florida history. It is a fast, fun 50-minute journey through 400 years of history with lots of images all based on the book Hidden History of Florida. The trip will leave listeners with a new appreciation of their state’s past.

Click Here to Register for the Event

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