• Nova Homes of South FL

The Cat is Back on Marco Island



Key Marco Cat Returns home

A concrete-and-glass home was built for it. Around the walls gleam newly colorized murals the orbs of its carved eyes can feast on. A small cadre of artifacts will keep it company and a newly installed generator guarantees it will never know sweat. It even has its own security guard and hurricane evacuation plan.

The Key Marco Cat is obviously no ordinary house pet.

The 6-inch statue, half feline, half human, is considered one of the most complete examples of pre-Columbian art in North America, a compact work that announces to the world: This was us. A joint project by the Marco Island Historical Society and Collier County will return it in November to the place where it was created to serve, a one-time talisman for a Native American household.

This is the reward from what Marco Island Historical Society President Pat Rutledge estimates has been a four-year project to bring the cat back for an extended visit. The exact November date hasn't been set, but a grand opening is planned for January.

With the cat will come several other existing items from the 1896 archaeological dig that unearthed them. They're items that have been to exhibitions in the British Museum and around the U.S. — but not to Marco.

In fact, the quest for this exhibit began when the Marco Island Historical Museum was being designed, according to Austin Bell, curator of collections. The last time the cat was displayed on Marco it had to be housed in a bank vault.

"Even when they were building this museum back in 2008 I think the original people here had the artifacts coming back on loan in mind. There's that special room in there," Bell said of the concrete and glass cabinetry built to museum security standards.

"It's one thing to do that. It's another to have educational, interpretational exhibits surrounding around the artifacts, giving them some sort of context, making them more appreciable by audiences," he continued. "I think in the last several years we've been able to do that."

Nova Homes of South Florida welcomes the Key Marco Cat back home. As one of Marco Island's top home builders, Nova is proud to be part of this great community's growth and history since 2004. For more information about Nova Homes building on Marco Island, visit www. novahomesbuilder.com or call Nick Cornwell at 239.776.5076.

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