In 1896, anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing unearthed hundreds of remarkable archaeological artifacts from a waterlogged site on Marco Island, including what is now probably Florida’s most famous pre-Columbian Native American artifact, the Key Marco Cat. Since its excavation, the Cat has embarked on an incredible journey of more than 12,000 miles, from Florida’s foul-smelling mangrove muck to the Smithsonian’s pristine exhibit halls – and beyond. It has been a direct witness to and participant in the evolving disciplines of anthropology and museology, on display in at least nine different exhibitions in eight cities, while enchanting millions of museumgoers and moving millions of dollars. The power it now holds is markedly different than that which was instilled in it by its maker hundreds of years ago. Its return to Marco Island in 2018, where it is on display at the Marco Island Historical Museum, is just the latest chapter in the long history of a singular object that has made a remarkable impact on the strange new world in which it has found itself. Registration caps at 100.