Aside from the fancy beaches, national parks and other destinations, Naples, Florida is also known for its deep appreciation of the arts. The residents of Naples put an undeniable emphasis on the celebration of high culture, particularly in visual and performing arts. Currently, there are five performing arts groups and nine museums along with the Naples Philharmonic, Opera Naples, Philharmonic Youth Chorus and Youth Orchestra. Naples was even, at one point, named the Best Small Art Town in America by The 100 Best Art Towns in America in 2005. All this, together with the small-time artists that display their artwork in the street corners of the bustling Naples downtown area, is what makes Naples stand-out as an important art capital in this side of the country.
Let’s look at the places and the museums that highlight the city’s passion for history, culture and the arts.
Collier County Museum The Collier County Museum is actually a group of five museums scattered all over the Collier County and each has something nice to offer to its guests. Two of the five museums, however, can be found in Naples, Florida. The Collier Museum can take you on a wild historical ride, that showcases the history of the region as far as the prehistoric age, with skulls of Sabertooth tigers and fossils of Mastodon plus a glimpse of the life and times of the ancient Calusa tribe, one of the oldest native settlers in the region. There is also a part that showcases the pioneers of Naples who turned it into a modern settlement. There are exhibits and depictions of loggers, railroad builders, cattlemen and frontiersmen in the museum.
One of the best ways to see the beginnings of Naples is through a guided walking tour of the Historic District, courtesy by the Naples Historical Society. Their headquarters is the quaint Palm Cottage, which also happens to be the oldest building in Naples and is, needless to say, still fully functional today. Aside from being a headquarters, it also functions as a museum and a venue where people can host weddings and cocktail parties. The Cottage has an old American feel to it and is very well preserved. It suffered some damage in 2017 from Hurricane Irma but its reconstruction has been going well and steady thanks to generous donors.
The Baker Museum
The Baker Museum is arguably, the home of the fine arts in Naples, Florida. This three-story 30,000 square foot museum boasts an amazing collection of contemporary modern art. It has a gallery full of interesting artwork for your eyes to see plus there are world-class temporary exhibitions as well as permanent ones like the Chihuly glass installations. There is so much to learn and to appreciate in this museum that you have to visit the place in order to fully appreciate it. There are also function rooms for meetings and lectures as well as art workshops for those who like to try their hands in art.
The Revs Institute of Naples
This place houses a ton of vehicles that date back as far as the 1920’s where Naples, Florida first truly modernized itself. The place exhibits restored bad boys from 1895 to 1995 and this includes vehicles that were manufactured in limited numbers. This is a great spot for motorheads and history buffs to hang about. Find out more and pay a visit to the Revs Institute
The Sugden Community Theatre
The Sugden Community Theatre is home to the Naples Players and is located in downtown Fifth Avenue South, the most important street in Naples in terms of human activity. The Theatre is top-tier in its own right and they offer stunning theatrical performances courtesy of the Naples Players. Well-loved plays such as Chicago are performed here several times of the year.