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“A Rich, Rich History”

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
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$15.00*
and up
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Admission
Ranked #19 of 182 things to do in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: We are a fully accredited museum in the Florida Keys. Come discover a museum rich in history! We have amazing treasure in our 1622 Fleet exhibit of the Spanish galleons discovered by Mel Fisher and his crew. Also thought provoking Spirits of the Passage and Key West African Cemetery exhibits to glean insights into the transatlantic slave trade and Key West's unique role in it. And don't miss our three new exhibits -- Spanish Coins in the New World, the Real Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Science of Shipwrecks. You can even take a lab tour to see how history is revealed through excavation and conservation of shipwrecks. Make plans to visit. We're open seven days a week, 365 days a year!
Reviewed December 16, 2013

Not much more than a century after Columbus bumped into an island obstacle on his way to the Far East, the Spanish galleon Our Lady of Atocha set sail from Havana in September 1622 with a fortune in silver, gold, emeralds and minted coins on a return voyage carrying the valuable bounty of New World mines, heading home with the frontier grandees who had reaped untold riches there. Only the second day out of port, the Atocha was hammered by a hurricane in the Gulf west of Key West and sank with major loss of life. Fortune hunter Mel Fisher was the reincarnation of the most successful "wreckers" of 19th Century Key West who claimed salvage off sinking ships in those early days--his divers finally found the wreckage of the Atocha at the bottom of the sea more than 300 years later. This non-profit museum recounts the history of Atocha and its ill-fated voyage, with manifests of who died or survived aboard the ship and another sunken galleon, along with exhibits of how silver bars were found in the sands, coins and jewelry recovered from the wreckage, rich artifacts of religion. A CNN cameraman friend told me I had to go see this, and I'm delighted I did. This is what the New World was like for the fortunate few--who did not live to tell the tale, but Fisher did. This is a rich, rich history of an era none of us was able to experience. But don't miss the gift shop on the way out, because it is like window-shopping at Tiffany's. Like me, you probably can't afford those little price tags unless you arrived in Key West on a private plane, preferably from Dubai. One small item is valued at one million dollars. But, hey, you can cross your fingers and wish on a star as you return to your hotel room or cruise ship at night. Maybe fortune will smile back at you,

2  Thank oaktownboy_37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"treasure hunting"
in 88 reviews
"on display"
in 104 reviews
"slave trade"
in 68 reviews
"audio tour"
in 61 reviews
"spanish galleon"
in 30 reviews
"gold bar"
in 28 reviews
"actual artifacts"
in 16 reviews
"lost treasure"
in 16 reviews
"jewelry store"
in 17 reviews
"behind the scenes"
in 16 reviews
"sunken ship"
in 15 reviews
"for sale"
in 33 reviews
"short film"
in 16 reviews
"history buff"
in 18 reviews
"key west history"
in 14 reviews
"his life"
in 16 reviews
"atocha"
in 285 reviews
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1,106 - 1,110 of 1,447 reviews

Reviewed December 5, 2013

If you are visiting Key West with your family the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum is a good place to spend an hour or so out of the heat or to duck out of the rain. With coupons, the admission is no pricier than any other attraction in Key West. It's located just a block or so away from the cruise ship dock, so people stopping for a few hours in port have plenty of time to visit. The museum is small, however they pack quite a few exhibits in there on two floors. The first floor has the majority of Mel Fisher's treasure hunting career artifacts, while second floor has a cute Harry Potter exhibit and a room on pirates. There are two gift shops on the first floor. The one is typical of most museums the other is more high cost and is part of the Mel Fisher Coin/jewelry store. Both kids and adults will find the time here well spent.

1  Thank ChrisandCindy08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2013

Cool stop in Key West for the average tourist, history buff or a pirate in search of treasure.

Not a huge museum but it provides a nice view of treasure hunting history. It's one of those must stop's when visiting Key West.

Price is a little pricey for what you get in return.

2  Thank JMfromMemphis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

Mel Fisher was always the 'King of Treasure Hunters' so was pleased to spend time in his maritime museum. Was amazed what has been recovered in the Florida Keys. Emeralds the size of a walnut. Silver ingots the size of a shoe box. And gold items everywhere! Gift shop was filled with treasures that had been made into jewelry pieces. Interactive Harry Potter display going on now! And a display on slave ships impounded in the area. Well worth the time to visit and then one block away you can get back to Duval Street for shopping.

Thank PattiP313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 10, 2013

This was a Key West attraction that I am happy we did not miss. The story behind the search and recovery was as interesting as being able to view the treasures themselves. I have seen some documentaries on television but nothing is like seeing things in person.

2  Thank Linda K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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