Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Visit the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum and explore the perilous industry that made Key West one of America’s richest cities by the mid-nineteenth century.
- Enjoy a museum dedicated to the infamous Key West industry known as “Wrecking”.
- Learn how brave sailors earned a living 150 years ago by salvaging damaged and sunken ships.
- Explore many artifact displays, watch films, and learn from live historical re-enactors.
- Hear the story of the 1856 sinking of the 137-foot merchant vessel Isaac Allerton.
- Climb a 65' Captain's Observatory just like the towers wreckers used to watch the reef.
Enter the exciting, dangerous world of the 19th century wreckers that patrolled the reefs off Key West in search of damaged and sunken ships to salvage.
A visit to the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum takes you back to the golden age of sail, when over 100 ships per day passed by Key West and an average of at least one ship per week would wreck somewhere along the hazardous Florida Reef.
The Key West wreckers were expert mariners who knew the treacherous waters well. They would race out to a ship that was in trouble, or in some cases already sunken, recover whatever cargo they could, then return to Key West. There, the Key West Wrecking Courts would award anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the salvage profit to the wreckers, depending on how dangerous and difficult the salvage operation was.
By the 1830s, Key West was accounting for 60% to 90% of the Florida Territory’s imports and exports, and most of this traffic was generated by the wreckers. The days of the Key West wreckers ended as the onset of railroads and improvements in navigational aids greatly reduced the number of shipwrecks. The Key West Wrecking Courts closed in 1921, but you can go back in history to enter the world of wrecking at Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum.
Rated by travel critics and visitors alike as a top Key West attraction, this fascinating history museum uses displays, video presentations, and historical re-enactors to paint a picture of life on a wrecking crew in Old Key West. You will enjoy a unique experience as film clips, interviews and actual underwater footage tells a mesmerizing tale in the re-created shipwrecker's warehouse.
See and touch artifacts from the Isaac Allerton, one of the richest shipwrecks in the history of Key West. Lift a silver bar salvaged from a Spanish galleon, learn about Asa Tift and other individuals who made their fortunes wrecking, and climb the 65-foot Captain's Observatory to scan the waters off Key West.
Get your eTickets right here at Cool Destinations and get ready to enjoy Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum, a Key West attraction that is great fun for all ages.
- Reservations are REQUIRED for all bookings
- Book Your Package On-Line
- Get Your Confirmation
- Duration: Self guided
- Departure point: Detailed check-in instructions - including address, Google map, and parking information - will be included in your final confirmation email.
Enjoy a museum dedicated to the infamous Key West industry known as “Wrecking”.
Learn how brave sailors earned a living 150 years ago by salvaging damaged and sunken ships.
Climb a 65' Captain's Observatory just like the towers wreckers used to watch the reef.
What To Bring
- Confirmation Voucher (printed or mobile)
- Any required or suggested items listed on your confirmation email.
- A Smile!
Likely To Sell Out
Spaces are extremely limited this time of year so book early to ensure the date you want.
Voucher Confirmation Info
This tour accepts both printed and electronic vouchers (e-vouchers). You can either print the voucher and present a paper copy on the day of travel. Or, if you travel with a mobile device, simply show your Photo ID and present your voucher on your Smartphone or tablet on the day of travel.
Local Operator Information
Complete operator information, including local telephone number, will be included on your Confirmation Voucher.
Frequently Asked QuestionsFAQ
Still have questions?
We’re here to help. Call (800) 814-2665 to speak with a Destination Specialist.