Key West is a small island with a lot of history. Our residents have found gold and wrote inspiring stories. Key West played an important role during the Cuban Missle Crisis and hosted a few presidents, we even succeeded from the US for a little while. For only 4.2 square miles, Key West is full of history and culture.
If you’re looking to learn more about Key West and the rich history behind us Conchs, read on. We made a list of the must-visit museums in Key West. These museums showcase the best of our island and everything we have to offer.
It’s hard to miss the beautiful brick facade of the Old Post Office and Customs House building. Located on Front Street, this historical building now serves as the Key West Museum of Art & History. When you visit, you can experience two floors of exhibitions that brings together art, history, people and events. If you don’t have a lot of time to explore inside the museum, you can take a quick stroll outside and see the realistic statues that are scattered on the museum grounds.
Ernest Hemingway once called Key West Home, now we call Ernest Hemingway’s house a museum. As soon as you enter the grounds you are met by a 6-toed cat and lush plants. On a guided tour you’ll be able to get a glimpse into the way one of the best author’s of the century lived. Hemingway’s house has a lot of historical features. The house (now a museum) was one of the first houses to have indoor plumbing, running water upstairs and a pool!
Located in downtown Key West at the corner of Greene St. and Whitehead is the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. This nautically themed museum features collections of artifacts from a 17th-century shipwreck that was excavated in by Mel Fisher and his team of Treasure Salvors. They started their quest in 1969 and spent years following an elusive trail. It wasn’t until 1973 when they found three silver bars, did they know they were on the right path. Sixteen years later they unearthed a treasure that can now be seen at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
One of our favorite spots in Key West is the Key West Lighthouse & Keeper Quarters. Climbing the 88 steps to the tops of the lighthouse and seeing our wonderful island from a bird’s eye view is a breathtaking experience. We also love getting a glimpse of the belongings, photographs, and words of the Lighthouse Keepers and their families.
Fort East Martello was first built during the Civil War to protect the Union-controlled island from the Confederacy. After the war ended, there was no use for this military structure. The fort and tower remained empty until 1950 when the Key West Art & Historical Society opened the islands first museum in the abandoned fort. With the help of committed volunteers and community support, the fort was restored to the original design. Today, the museum showcases a collection of relics from the civil war, information about wrecking and cigar manufacturing and the haunted Robert the Doll.
Did your favorite museum make our list? If no, let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more skin care tips & tricks.