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“Key West History in a Beautiful Setting” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Key West Art & Historical Society Custom House Museum

Key West Art & Historical Society Custom House Museum
281 Front Street, Key West, FL 30040
305-295-6616
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Ranked #54 of 187 things to do in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
Level Contributor
119 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Key West History in a Beautiful Setting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012

Spent a few hours here during our last Key West visit. The building is a beautiful piece of architecture. The wrap around verandah features life-size, realistic looking statues. Inside there are excellent exhibits featuring Key West history including Hemingway, Sanchez, hurricanes and the Spanish War.

Many resorts offer free admission tickets or have buy one - get one coupons. Standard admission is $7 for adults, cheaper for seniors, adults and AAA card holders. Well worth the price of admission.

Visited October 2012
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173 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Manchester, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
188 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“One of the better museums in KW”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

This was a really nice, little museum! I'm glad we went. There were some interesting exhibits downstairs, and upstairs had a lot of KW history. Definitely a nice place to visit and escape the heat! Worth the price of admission for sure.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weston, Florida
Level Contributor
17 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“would love to see more history displays”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

The restoration of this building is awesome and the displays give you a good overall view of the town...but the title is not misleading...

Visited October 2012
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Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A Must See for Railroad and Civil Engineering Enthusiasts”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

Although the first floor for this wonderful little museum may seem a bit underwhelming as it is dedicated solely to local art and artist, the second floor is a whole different story. The story of the building of the Florida East Coast Overseas Railway Extension from Homestead to Key West in the very early 1900's and its ultimate demise by the Categary 5 hurricane on Sept 2, 1935 is well documented and depticted in videos, pictures and art. If you do not take the time to listen to the one audio and two video presentations on the railroad, you have missed the bulk of the experience at this museum.

Outside of the Overseas Railroad Extension exhibits, there is significant coverage of Ernest "Papa" Hemingway and local folk artist Mario Sanchez. Although most people have heard of, or read, Hemingway's books, few may know of Key West native artist Mario Sanchez who created his painting by first etching them in wood, then painting the etched wood into glorious detai. Take the time to watch the video of his life and work as well.

Given the variety of the well designed and informative exhibits, touring this museum is well worth the $6 admission price.

Visited September 2012
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Key West, Florida
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great thorough History of Key West”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

I spend three hours in here. There was a great art exhibit downstairs and up the century old stair case, into a deep lively history of Key West through industry, figures and events. The content of the museum is undeniable. There is a lot of money in here, local names I recognize this place is truly dedicated more than any other museum in the city. No other museum really covers the entire spectrum of the great history of our island. Great gift shop too. Take a stroll around the balcony of the old custom's house, made of 1 million bricks. So much treasure and fortune had passed from the shore through the doors, having used to be right on the water docks. Great show and a way to spend an inquisitive. The curator was even kind enough to let me bring my coffee!

Visited August 2012
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