Marco Island was once part of the ancient Calusa kingdom. The Marco Cat, a statue found in 1896 excavations, has become symbolic of the island's prehistoric significance. The original is part of the Smithsonian Institution's collection, but a replica of the Marco Cat is among displays illuminating the ancient past at this museum, which opened in January 2011. Three rooms examine the island's history with dioramas, artifacts, and signage: the Calusa Room, Pioneer Room,
and Modern Marco Room. A fourth hosts traveling exhibits focusing on the settlement history of the island. Outside, the yard was built to look like a Calusa village atop a shell mound with a water feature and chickee structure.