Photo by Jennifer Silva
Key West Shipwreck Museum
The Key West Shipwreck Museum transports visitors back to 1856, when the young city's port had more than 100 ships passing through daily. Because of the coral reefs, shipwrecks were common at the time and salvage became a thriving business. At the museum, visitors will meet an actor portraying Asa Tift, an actual Key West citizen whose family made a good living salvaging, or saving, crew, passengers, and cargo from ships that were wrecked on the reefs. He'll tell the stories of the many wrecks and recoveries of Tift's time. The museum's immersive experience includes films and historic artifacts, including the wreckage of the Isaac Allerton, which sank off the coast in 1895.
By GiAnna Wyatt, AFAR Local Expert
Key West Treasures
In the 1800's shipping was the method of transporting goods from one place to another. The trade routes along the waters of the Florida Keys were a danger to the ships because of the reefs in these waters. A storm would send a ship into a reef and wreck the ships. As many as one ship every 4-6 weeks would founder. Salvaging these wrecks became big business and Key West was a shipwrecker's haven. Many a Key West salvaging family became wealthy as a result. The first person to reach the wreck, would get the best of the spoils. Lookout towers were built and used to spot wrecks. Today one of the popular Key West attractions is the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum. The museum is a model of an 1856 wrecker's warehouse. Actors play out stories of Key West wrecking. At the time, Key West was one of America's richest cities. There are two floors with treasures from the sea. Stories of their salvage operations are fascinating. The staff is very helpful and friendly. The tower is fun to climb up and it offers great views of Key West and the surrounding turquoise waters. Children seemed to really get a kick out of the whole experience as they learn about another era and it's people. I enjoyed looking at the treasures and learning their history. Emerse yourself in the story and the history of the Key West wreckers. Most hotel lobbies have a pamphlet stand. The See Magazine coupon book has a discount coupon for this museum. Key West Visitor's Center www.KeyWest.com
By Connie Hand
Ahoy Matey! Shipwreck Museum in Key West
The Key West Shipwreck museum offers an educational and entertaining look at the life of pirates by combining actors, films, and real shipwreck artifacts. This museum is particularly fun for families, as young children will get to see details of the culture and history surrounding one of societies most beloved historical figures—pirates! Plus, being able to walk around in a museum wearing an eye patch and using pirate talk is virtually guaranteed to be a good time.
By Erica House
1 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040, USA
Sun - Sat 9:30am - 5pm