The Key West Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society and Museum is a must-see for visitors that love jewels, treasures, maritime history, and pirates. Named after it’s famous treasure diving founder, Mel Fisher wanted to give the treasure he found a home for the public to learn from. Located off of Greene Street, this maritime museum has a large collection of artifacts collected from 17th century shipwrecks. Some of these shipwrecks include the Henrietta Marie, Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita.
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum helps promote the education, and the importance of underwater archeology. Under water archeology was a passion of Mel Fisher, who would not have been able to excavate the treasure he has without it. Being kids here is a great way to get them interested in maritime history and start showing them early on that they are able to go into this as a career one day. This subfield of anthropology is the study of humankind, what life was like for them while they were alive, and what their beliefs of what they knew to be true at the time they were alive. This is the closest we get to having a time machine, and the shipwrecks often reveal information through the excavation of these ships. Mel Fisher and his team believe it is imperative to get as much information from these wrecks before they are completely rotted away, never to be discovered or shared. It is an important piece of history that should be preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
This accredited historical museum offers two tours a day, that give a behind-the-scenes look to guests who want to see the Conservation Lab, and what kind of work goes into conserving some of the items found from the wreckage. There are many steps that the Mel Fisher Museum has to take to conserve artifacts, starting with the cleaning, and adjust the environment to help preserve it from rotting. This tour is offered two times a day, Monday thru Friday, and can be purchased in addition to guest’s admissions ticket.
At the Key West Mel Fisher Museum, guests will gaze in awe of the jewels, and solid gold that has been found from the Spanish Galleon. Or even get the chance to see the Henrietta Marie’s salvaged artifacts of being a merchant slave ship. Mel Fisher and his divers have only partially excavated it and have a wide educational portion of the museum dedicated to it. That should give an idea of how grand this ship is. There are also exhibits that get exchanged for new ones, so it could be different when visitors come in September to when they visit in March.
With all the things to do in Key West, it can be hard to chose one, but the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum should be at the top of the list! It shows a vital part of Key West’s history, that needs to be alive in the minds of the people who live here and who visit.