This interactive museum is home to unbelievable relics pulled from the bottom of the sea and a watchtower with views across the Gulf of Mexico.
Learn about Key West’s major industry prior to the 20th-century tourist boom at this interactive museum. The Key West Shipwreck Museum is among the most popular museums in the town. The actors who lead you through the exhibits make it a fun and engaging activity for the whole family. See historic artifacts recovered from the seabed, learn about salvaging and climb to the top of a watchtower for panoramic views.
Meet Asa Tift, the most successful of Key West’s wreckers. An actor playing the 19th-century character will lead you through the museum. Tift tells the story of Key West in the 1850s, a time when shipwrecks were common in the waters off the Florida Keys. See the re-creation of the 19th-century warehouse that Tift’s business operated out of, complete with a 65-foot (20-meter) watchtower. Climb the wooden stairs to the top of the tower to see if you can spot any shipwrecks.
See a huge range of artifacts retrieved from the Isaac Allerton vessel. Despite only being rediscovered in 1985, Key West wreckers managed to retrieve artifacts that earned them more than $50,000 from the hull; it remains among the richest wrecks in Key West’s long history. Visit the museum to see bottles, tools and even candles on display. The museum has relics from other wrecks, including an impressive collection from Spanish galleons. Try to lift a silver bar retrieved from the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, an unbelievable discovery.
Alongside the tours and interactive exhibits, the museum features a number of films and photographs documenting early Key West. See what life was like in the then-small town and learn about the hardships and dangers of working as a wrecker.
The Key West Shipwreck Museum is located in Key West, close to Mallory Square. You’ll find ample pay-and-display parking in the area, and walking or cycling is easy from within the town. The museum is open daily. The admission fee includes a guided tour.