Key West’s definitive maritime museum is an important attraction for anyone wanting to learn about early life in the Keys. Hear stories of slavery, pirates and fishermen.
In the heart of Key West’s historic Old Town you’ll find one of Florida’s most fascinating maritime museums. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is the definitive resource for anybody wanting to learn about the navy, fishing and merchant sailing communities that shaped the Florida Keys from the 17th century until today. Visit the former U.S. Navy Storehouse, originally constructed between 1908 and 1911 and you’ll find four important permanent collections that include artifacts from 17th-century shipwrecks and the treasure from Nuestra Señora de Atocha.
Learn the stories behind the slave trade of the Caribbean as you visit the Henrietta Marie. After carrying African captives to the West Indies to be sold as slaves, the slave ship sank off the coast of Florida. Today you can explore what’s left of the wreck and see relics retrieved from the bottom of the sea. Other items in the collection include artifacts from Spanish galleons, including the famous Nuestra Señora de Atocha Santa Margarita, from 1622.
Visit the moving African Cemetery at Higgs Beach. Since 2002 the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum has dedicated itself to revealing the stories behind the rescued slaves that are buried at this coastal cemetery.
Self-guided tours of the museum are the easiest way to learn about Key West’s rich maritime history, but there are also two guided tours of the conservation lab each day. See the techniques used to carefully excavate relics lost at sea. The museum is home to more than 100,000 artifacts that have been carefully conserved thanks to research and development completed in this lab.
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is located in central Key West and there are ample metered and private parking spaces in the area. The Conch Train tour and the Key West trolley stop close to the museum. The museum is closed on weekends and an admission fee applies.