Lecture Series: The Nine Lives of Florida’s Famous Key Marco Cat – Mound House

december, 2023

05dec5:30 pm7:00 pmLecture Series: The Nine Lives of Florida’s Famous Key Marco Cat

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Museum Admission and Light Bites Included

Price $15.00

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Event Details

Austin Bell explores nine periods in the life of the six-inch-high wooden carving, beginning with how it was sculpted with shell and sharktooth tools and what it may have represented to the ancient Calusa-perhaps a human-panther god. Preserved in the muck for centuries on Marco Island and discovered in pristine condition due to its oxygen-free environment, the Cat has since traveled more than 12,000 miles and has been viewed by millions of people. It is one of the Smithsonian Institution’s most irreplaceable items. In this fascinating account, Bell traces the clues to the Cat’s mysterious origins that have emerged in its later lives. After the lecture there will be a book signing.

Austin J. Bell is the Curator of Collections for the Marco Island Historical Society and a Consulting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He is the author of three books, including The Nine Lives of Florida’s Famous Key Marco Cat, published through the University Press of Florida. Austin currently serves on several non-profit Boards of Directors, including the Florida Anthropological Society and the Collier County Historic Archaeological Preservation Board. He holds a B.A. in Anthropology and M.A. in Museum Studies  from the University of Florida and is an alumnus of the Smithsonian Institution’s Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology. A two-time winner of the Florida Association of Museums’ prestigious “Museum Excellence” Award, Austin was also named the 2017 “Artist of the Year” by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, the 2018 Marco Island “Citizen of the Year” by the Naples Daily News, and one of Gulfshore Life magazine’s “40 Under 40.” A Florida native, Austin resides in Marco Island with his wife Erin and daughter Chloe.



(Tuesday) 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


451 Connecticut St, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

451 Connecticut St