Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum
PO BOX 100
CORTEZ FL 34215-0100
The Florida Maritime Museum collects, preserves, and shares traditional knowledge, cultural artifacts and personal stories specific to Florida's fishing and maritime heritage. This is done through accessible and engaging educational programming and interpretive exhibits that encourage the pursuit and study of maritime interests and responsible interaction with aquatic resources.

To achieve this mission, FMM will adhere to the highest standards of excellence in:

  • Building maritime community by sharing information and research materials including a library containing books, plans, logs, diaries, periodicals, letters and related archival materials.
  • Connecting diverse audiences to Florida’s rich maritime heritage in a way that acknowledges and expands upon FMM’s unique environment, the historic fishing village of Cortez.
  • Inspiring collaboration and fostering a spirit of perseverance that utilizes the wisdom of the past, through the perspective of today for those who will continue on after us.


CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Kristin Sweeting
Board Chair Mr. Mike Finney
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2012
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Exempt 0
State Registration Yes May 2017
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
Exempt Status LetterView
Impact Statement
Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum was created to support the mission and goals of the Florida Maritime Museum. The museum has undergone an institutional transformation in the past few years and is ready to move ahead in great new directions. Board and staff are looking at ways to expand the reach of the museum through partnerships and educational outreach opportunities, the most recent endeavor being The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum.
Our goal is to gather, preserve and interpret Florida’s maritime heritage, and to contextualize the historic fishing village of Cortez as a traditional maritime community within the greater context of Florida’s maritime history, maritime history in general, and the natural world.
We strive to establish ourselves as a valuable community resource through meaningful exhibits, hands-on and interactive programs, educational outreach, and community partnerships.
In the past year we have:
-Developed a earned-income business plan through The Patterson Foundation's Margin and Mission Ignition Initiative for The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum.
- Embarked and successfully achieved our fundraising goal for the start-up capital of The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum
-Launched The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum with traditional maritime and heritage skills classes in January of 2017.
- Continue a large-scale capital campaign to complete renovations on the historic Burton Store, which will be the home of The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum.
- Completed the fountain restoration that is part of our campus-wide improvement plan which also includes a boat-shop addition, events pavilion,  re-thatched chickee hut, and maritime post and rope fence.
- Completed campus-wide native landscaping initiative, filling in multiple areas with Florida friendly plants and educational signage.
 - Delivered our first traveling exhibit to be housed initially at the Barnacle in Coconut Grove.
- Presented at the annual Florida Association of Museums conference


Our goals for the current year are:.

- Continually assessment and follow-up of the business plan to ensure success of The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum.
-Recognize a successful first year in accordance with the business plan for the Folk School.
- Recognize completion of Burton Store and other campus improvements.
- Continue exploring opportunities for FMM traveling exhibits.
- Continue expanding our educational offerings both outreach and onsite.
- Continue inventorying and re-housing museum collections.  
-Continue and expand folk school class offerings in Florida Folklife with a focus on maritime heritage.
Needs Statement
  1. $225,000 - Outdoor Kitchen: With the success of The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum an outdoor kitchen will provide a large, more efficient space, to offer diverse traditional Florida foodways classes like smoking mullet, baking traditional breads and more. These are classes that the Folk School are currently unable to offer due to space and equipment restrictions. 
  2. $100,000 - Permanent Exhibit Enhancement: To keep visitors engaged, museum's on average enhance or change their permanent exhibits every 3 to 4 years. This enhancement will provide the Museum with a few key elements. A new layout to facilitate a more engaging path for visitors through a strategic plan for multiple temporary walls to reinvision and better utilize the limited space available. The second element is to have a cohesive design throughout all the exhibits which will include new labels, display cases, and interactives. Finally, this enhancement will also include the addition of a larger, educational space for children to learn and play while learning the importance of maritime history. 
  3. $35,000 for two part-time staff - these positions, consisting of a part time visitor services coordinator and a part time maintenance technician will allow the organization to focus its personnel and more efficiently utilize the strengths possessed by the Florida Maritime Museum team.
  4. $10,000- To construct a post and rope fence around two sides of the property to secure the campus from vehicular traffic and unexpected activities when the museum is closed. (Grounds will remain open to pedestrian traffic.)
  5. $5,000 for traveling exhibits - These traveling exhibits would be weather proof and could be utilized by schools, libraries and more. $5,000 would cover the creation of 3 exhibits, one for elementary education, one for middle, and one for high school. These exhibits will be bilingual.
Background Statement
The Florida Maritime Museum is located in the historic fishing village of Cortez and is housed in the old School House, built in 1912. The building was more than a school though; it served as a community center where weddings and holiday parties were held, as well as a shelter from the 1921 hurricane that devastated much of Cortez. It was owned by an artist and used as his private studio and residence until his death in 1995. In need of restoration and sitting vacant, the residents of Cortez rallied to ensure that the building was preserved. It was purchased by Manatee County in 1999 with the intention of housing a museum, in partnership with the Cortez Village Historical Society and the non-profit Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage. Restoration took several years, but the Florida Maritime Museum opened in 2006. Residents and volunteers scoured the community for photographs and artifacts that would highlight the importance of the commercial fishing industry in the region. The museum has since grown to encompass a broader vision in preserving and sharing all aspects of Florida’s maritime heritage.
In 2012 the Florida Maritime Museum established independence from the partner organizations that help found, and Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum was established to support the mission and efforts of the museum moving forward. 
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments Located in Manatee County, a majority of visitors come from Manatee and Sarasota Counties, including visitors from Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. However, the approximately 4,500 people we serve annually include visitors from all 50 states and over 15 foreign countries. We also provide opportunities for scholarly research that have been utilized by people from St. Petersburg, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Orlando, Gainesville and beyond.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
My passion for history runs deep and I am honored to be able to support the Florida Maritime Museum and its efforts by serving as board chair. This institution is unique both in its geographical location, being situated in a historic commercial fishing village, and in its scope of reach. As we continue to build partnerships and explore innovative ways to share maritime knowledge, there is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to achieve recognition for our efforts.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Situated in the heart of maritime history, the Florida Maritime Museum is an unpolished gem. It is a relatively new institution with a strong foundation to grow on, and we are eager to see its potential unfold. We have almost 4 acres of land with three historic buildings; the 1912 School House, the 1890 Burton Store and the 1920’s Pillsbury Boat Shop. We also have one of the original cisterns that provided fresh water to Cortez residents. The sight is naturally beautiful with a lake, trees, birds and strong sense of history. We have a membership program that provides reciprocal benefits with over 600 museums nationwide and The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum just launched to provide hands-on classes in traditional maritime and heritage skills. As we build on our existing partnerships and build new ones, we look forward to having a strong and positive impact in not just Cortez but in the broader community as well.
Description We have created two engaging outreach programs to take into the classroom: Marine Archaeology and Celestial Navigation. Both were developed with an eye towards current standards and can be modified as needed to suit grades 4 through 12, and they both tie in to Florida’s maritime history.

Outreach is a beneficial platform for us because, although we are also working to bolster educational opportunities for youth on site, our facility is not large enough to host large classes and allow for daily visitors simultaneously. This platform also benefits schools that are struggling to fund field trip excursions in the current economic climate. Depending on the level of involvement, determined by grade level and student/teacher interest, both programs can range from a single classroom visit to a series of visits, complimented by pre and post visit teacher-led activities.
Marine Archaeology

This program covers the entire process of researching, locating, excavating and preserving a shipwreck and the artifacts from it.  Depending on the age group targeted, it can range from a fun hands on activity that will help build basic spatial orientation skills and pattern recognition to an in depth project spanning 2-3 weeks and involving actual research, information and database management. In either case, students learn about marine archeology, why it is important, and a brief experiential overview of how the process works, start to finish. 

Celestial Navigation

This program focuses on using the sun and the stars to find your way across a faceless sea and how that, in conjunction with coastal navigation, was used by the original explorers to cross oceans and repeatedly find safe harbors.  It covers math, geometry, and earth/space science and outlines the development of celestial navigation tools from the simplest tool to the modern sextant.  Students get to learn by practical application, making their own device that can actually be used at night to find their latitude.

Budget $2,000
Category Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success We will continue beta testing these programs through fall of 2015.Teacher and student feedback will allow us to fine-tune our programs to best suit their needs. Short term success will be in clarifying and finalizing our presentations.
Long Term Success We hope to increase our audience reach from about 100 students annually to 500 students annually in the first year (2014-2015).
Program Success Monitoring Success will be measured by audience count, student and teacher feedback as to quality and effectiveness of programs, and museum visitorship resulting from student engagement at outreach programs.
Program Success Examples
Because the program is new, we do not yet have measures of proven success. We hope that student and teacher feedback will reflect positive learning results and increased curiosity.
FMM offers a number of maritime themed lectures. These lectures are offered monthly on site at the museum as well as at local libraries and other such venues.  These lectures range from 30-45 minutes followed by a question and answer period. 
Budget $750
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Short Term Success
In 2016 we hosted eight in-house lecture series and at least one outreach lecture each month, each serving to increase audience and exposure to the museum and its activities. These lectures have established a regular following and have garnered support for other programs.
Long Term Success
To increase interest in the museum and inspire further engagement in FMM events and activities. Ultimately, this increased exposure will also lead to greater financial support and community involvement.
Program Success Monitoring
We have audience sign-in sheets at each lecture which allows for audience feedback and gives the option to sign up for our e-newsletter. Success is monitored by positive feedback as well as number of people opting to sign up for the newsletter (i.e. expressing interest in other museum events and activities).
Program Success Examples
Visitors who visit museum after attending an outreach lecture. Visitors who attend multiple lectures. Increased e-newsletter interest. Important community relationships forged through these lecture events (i.e. cultivation of boat-building volunteers, possible university partnerships, etc.)
The Folk School gives the Florida Maritime Museum an active, on-target way to foster maritime culture by fulfilling the demonstrated demand for more classes, which help preserve this important cultural heritage and further the missions of multiple non-profits in Cortez.
Folk Schools across the nation help cultivate community by offering opportunities for people from different social groups to gather around common interests. Many of them highlight heritage skills like candle-making, textile crafts, canning, and woodworking.
We provide similar offerings with the additional focus on maritime skills like net-mending, mast making and boat building. Our goal is to make these opportunities as accessible as possible by offering a wide diversity of classes, and offering them at affordable prices, and at times to accommodate a variety of schedules.
Budget $62,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Short Term Success
The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum provides a place for people to learn traditional maritime and heritage skills. In the short-term it gives participants entertainment and an opportunity to build connections with other participants. After our first 3 classes in January and early February of 2017 people were already commenting how nice it was to have a place to come and talk with people who had similar interests.  
Long Term Success
As programs at the Folk School build and lengthen a much broader segment of Manatee and Sarasota counties populations will be exposed to the traditional maritime and heritage skills of fishing villages, and early communities throughout Florida. We expect to reach 450 students within the first year and these students, by participating in these classes and workshops, will gain a hands-on understanding of Florida's maritime history and as a result feel a stronger connection to our local communities.
Program Success Monitoring
In 2016 the Florida Maritime Museum created a business plan for the Folk School. We know that the program has been successful by tracking it against our projected outcomes in the plan.
Program Success Examples
The first three classes at the Folk School have hit their registration maximums and other classes to be held in the future have already sold out as well. We have had to adapt our programming and add more classes to meet the demand in the upcoming months.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Kristin Sweeting
CEO Term Start Dec 2016
CEO/Executive Director Email
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 4
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 50
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 1
Volunteers 22
Management Reports to Board No
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
The Florida Maritime Museum is supported in partnership by the Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum and the Manatee County Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court’s office provides an operating budget that covers utilities, office supplies, telecommunications systems, minor maintenance, some volunteer education and recognition needs, some school programming, and the salaries of Florida Maritime Museum employees. The Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum provide support for educational programming, public programs, special events, museum gift store and fundraising efforts. The Clerk of Court serves as board chair and administrative duties are carried out by Clerk staff.
Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota2017
Florida Association of Museums2017
Manatee Chamber of Commerce2017
Fresh From Florida2015
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Other Documents
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Mike Finney
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term Jan 2017 to Jan 2019
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms. Karen Bell Star Fish Company
Mr. Michael Bennett Former Florida Senator
Mr. John Chappie Bradenton Beach Commission Ward 4
Mr. Ed Chiles The Chiles Restaurant Group
Ms. Angel Colonneso Manatee County Clerk of Court
Mr. Richard Culbreath Cortez Fishing Village
Mr. Mike Finney Community Volunteer
Mr. Byron Shinn Shinn and Associates
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 6
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Board Meeting Attendance % 68
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 20
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Oct
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Sept
Tax Year End Day 30
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $123,151.00
Projected Expenses $72,481.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign Yes
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? No
Campaign Purpose To complete a number of restoration, expansion and construction projects on the FMM campus which will allow for expansion of The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum through improved educational and programming spaces.
Campaign Goal $370,000.00
Campaign Dates Feb 2015 to Mar 2018
Amount Raised To Date 205000 as of Mar 2016
IRS Form 990s
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$203,862$9,630$10,397
Administration Expense$6,318$6,359$8,438
Fundraising Expense$1,918$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.742.571.77
Program Expense/Total Expenses96%60%55%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue2%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$8,790$66,983$41,817
Current Assets$8,790$64,691$40,376
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$92$100
Total Net Assets$8,790$66,891$41,717
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $83,890Contributions, gifts, grants $23,753Contributions, gifts, grants $20,053
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $35,448Program Service Revenue $9,014Program Service Revenue $7,234
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Service Revenue $33,206Gross Profit from Sales of Inventory $5,561Membership Dues $3,365
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities--703.16403.76
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
The Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum non-profit was established in April of 2012. It was originally set up to run on a calendar year cycle, but is in the process of transitioning to a fiscal year cycle (October- September), thus some of our financial statements do not align according to the same cycle.
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from IRS Form 990.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support. Federal 990 for 2013 is a short period return due to change in accounting period.  Financial information for 2017 taken from unaudited compilations as the Federal tax return was not available at time of review.
Nonprofit Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum
Address PO BOX 100
CORTEZ , FL 34215 0100
Phone 941 708-6120