Silver bars on display at the Mel Fisher Museum, Key West
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
200 Greene Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Open 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 5 pm Weekends & Holidays
Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children.
The Inside Florida Scoop on the Mel Fisher Museum
- See a ton (literally) of treasure
- Lift a gold bar
- Amazing emeralds
- Bronze Cannons
- A fun gift store with replicas of the treasure and pirate garb
- The treasure store where you can buy actual coins
The Mel Fisher Museum is as much about the persistence and optimism of Mel Fisher as it is about the vast Treasure he and his team found. The treasure on the Spanish Galeon Atocha valued at over $450 million is impressive. The Atocha sank in 1622 on route to Spain from Havana.
We visited the Mel Fisher Museum in July 2008 - it was our second visit and we really enjoyed it. The magnitude of the treasure is a little hard to comprehend. Imagine tons of silver bars. When it was found it was described as 40 feet long, 20 feet wide and 5 feet high of silver. There are also many silver coins - the famed pieces of eight on display.
Mel Fisher Museum, Key West
Emeralds from Columbia
Mel Fisher and his team knew what was on the official manifest of the Atocha but Mel also suspected they would find contraband - items being smuggled to Spain by passengers. The most impressive of the surprise cargo is the Emeralds. There is a 78 carat uncut emerald on display that came from a mine in Columbia.
As you would imagine most of the museum is look but don’t touch - items are on display in plexiglass cases. One exception is a gold bar weighing about 76 ounces. You can slip your hand through a opening and pick it up.
Gold Chains and Cannons
Enormous gold chains were the currency used by those with wealth in the period of 1622. They would take off a link as a form of payment. Many of these chains measuring several feet in length are on display.
Other items on display are bronze cannons, a huge anchor, and many artifacts such as plates, a golden spoon, pottery, and silverware made of peruvian sliver.
An Emerald Cross at the Mel Fisher Museum, Key West
Lift the Gold Bar at the Mel Fisher Museum, Key West
As you exit the Mel Fisher Museum you pass the Treasure Store where you get the best view of silver coins, emeralds and jewelry you can actually buy. The coins are sold based on their condition. Grade 1 coins are in the best condition and sell for about $3,150.
Both the adults and children in our group really enjoyed the Mel Fisher Museum and we spent about 2 hours there. The museum is within walking distance of Mallory Square, Duval Street, the Key West History Museum, the Key West Aquarium, and many restaurants and bars. And it is a short walk from where cruise ships dock in Key West.
Treasure Still Being Found
If you take the cruise from Key West to Dry Tortugas you pass the sites where the Atocha and sister ship the Santa Margarita are still being explored. And as recently has June 2008 new discoveries have been made of a golden challis worth one million dollars and a box of 6000 pearls.
Have a Question or Comment? Submit it below!