Shipwreck Museum

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Joy S on July 28, 2011

The museum is open between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Admission prices are $15 for adults and $7 for children, you can make a bit of a saving if you buy combined tickets with some of the other attractions, e.g. the aquarium.

We had seen this museum advertised and promoted in a lot of different places, so were excited about going. To be honest we were a bit underwhelmed and disappointed, it is a lot of money for what is on offer.

The museum aims to transport you back in time to 1856 in Key West - the time when the wreckers were around. It is all about Key West's maritime heritage and shows exactly how it became the richest city in the USA at that time.

The first part of the museum is participatory and interactive. Actors playing the part of wreckers and Asa Tuft, their boss, call you to come and join them and bring you into the museum. Inside, they then tell you about the wreckers and what happened. The "shows" run every 20 minutes or so. This was quite interesting, afterwards you are free to wander around the 3 floors of exhibits by yourself.

There are a few films to watch and various artefacts. They hae treasure from the Spanish fleets of the 1600's and 1700's and a collection of pieces from the 1856 wreck of the Isaac Allerton. One of the best things to see is a 64lb sold silver bar, salvaged from the Spanish treasure galleon Neustra Senora de las Maravillas. You can try and lift it up - it is extremely heavy.

The best part of the museum is the lookout tower. You can climb up the steps to the 65 foot tower and enjoy the views at the top. There is a bell to ring when you get up there - children like to do this and shout "Wreck ashore!"

All in all, we found that this museum was a bit dry and heavy going, especially for younger children. Once the participatory first part is over, they quickly tire of the displays and there is a lot of reading to do. We were the only people in the museum - so maybe that says something. It is fairly expensive as well, in hindsight we would not have gone, and unless you have a special interest in shipwrecks, I would not recommend it.
Key West Shipwreck Historeum Museum
1 Whitehead St.
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 292-8990

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