Museums and Galleries Walk (Self Guided), Key West

Key West offers some unique and exceptional museums related to the history and location of the city. As it is situated on an island, this place was often visited by pirates in the past, and so there are many museums about pirates. The famous American writer Ernest Hemingway lived here and there is a museum dedicated to him. Key West is also the birthplace of some really famous artists. You can admire their art in the galleries on this picturesque island.This self-guided tour will take you through some of the best museums and galleries of the city.
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Museums and Galleries Walk Map

Guide Name: Museums and Galleries Walk
Guide Location: USA » Key West (See other walking tours in Key West)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Turtle Kraals Museum
  • Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
  • Key West Museum of Art & History
  • Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
  • Audubon Gallery
  • Wyland Gallery
  • Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
1
Turtle Kraals Museum

1) Turtle Kraals Museum

The Turtle Kraals Museum is the only museum of its kind in the world. It is about sea turtles, and you can see these endangered species here. Key West was the city where turtles were canned and shipped throughout the world at a time when turtle meat was a delicacy. Before the Caribbean turtles were slaughtered, the hunters kept them in cages in the docks that were called 'kraals', hence the name of the museum.

Hours: Thursday-Sunday: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm.
2
Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum

2) Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum (must see)

The Shipwreck Treasure Museum (formerly Shipwreck Historeum) combines actors, films and actual artifacts to tell the story of 400 years of shipwreck salvage in the Florida Keys. The museum itself is a re-creation of a 19th-century warehouse built by wrecker tycoon Asa Tift. Many of the artifacts on display are from the 1985 rediscovery of the wrecked vessel Isaac Allerton, which sank in 1856 on the Florida Keys reef and turned out to be one the richest shipwrecks in Key West's history, having resulted in the Federal Wrecking Court's largest monetary award for the salvage of a single vessel. Also included are relics from Spanish galleons, including a silver bar salvaged from the Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas that guests are encouraged to try to lift. Guests can also climb the 65' lookout tower.

Why You Should Visit:
To learn about the many interesting artifacts and history of the shipwrecks that made Key West one of the richest towns in the US.

Tip:
Taking a small flashlight, to read many of the signs and posters or labels, would be quite helpful.
Also, you can get a great discount by buying combo tickets for other Key West museums.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am–5:30pm
3
Key West Museum of Art & History

3) Key West Museum of Art & History (must see)

The Key West Museum of Art & History is housed in a historical Romanesque-style building that used to be the city's Custom House and Post Office. The structure was built in 1891 with red bricks brought from New York, iron from Pennsylvania and workers from the whole of the USA. Exhibits include local history, famous personalities including Ernest Hemingway, maritime history, and works by local artists. Overall, it's a very comprehensive museum and there is also an upstairs space for visiting exhibits.

Tip:
Be sure to make time for the gift shop!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-4:30pm
4
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

4) Mel Fisher Maritime Museum (must see)

The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum contains an extensive collection of artifacts from 17th-century shipwrecks. A rotating gallery on the 2nd floor is also currently displaying an exhibit or artifacts belonging to Cuban Rafters, Balseros, who arrive to Key West in hand-crafted vessels. Terrestrial archaeological sites include The African Cemetery of Key West, located on Higg's Beach. The museum is named for founder Mel Fisher and was created as a non-profit charity organization, thus Fisher's fortune is not financially linked to the museum. It is a museum, a lab, and a nationally recognized research facility.

Within the museum is a fully operating Conservation and Archaeology lab, where guests are allowed admittance during a daily private Lab Tour and are able to touch the artifacts while learning about the various stages of artifact conservation. Some artifacts, depending on type and density, can take anywhere from weeks to years for full conservation before they are placed on display in the museum.

Tip:
Skip the Audio Tour but add the Conservation Lab Tour (extra fee) conducted by the extremely knowledgeable marine archeologist who will take you through each step of the process from discovery to the de-encrustation and preservation of artifacts. Plus it's really cool to be able to actually handle an encrusted artifact from a shipwreck and see all of the tools being used.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-5pm; Sat, Sun & Holidays: 9:30am-5pm

Lab Tours:
Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2pm (Holidays excluded)
5
Audubon Gallery

5) Audubon Gallery

Audubon Gallery is situated near Audubon House & Tropical Gardens that offer a view of tropical plants. Audubon Gallery displays original art by the outstanding ornithologist John James Audubon. Don't miss the unique gift shop in the garden.

Hours: Monday-Sunday 9:30 am – 4:15 pm
6
Wyland Gallery

6) Wyland Gallery

Wyland is a world famous marine life painter and sculptor. He created many sculptures of dolphins, life sized whale, serenes, etc. Wyland Gallery in Key West displays works by Wyland and other contemporary artists. The entrance to the gallery is marked by a fountain with three dolphins, sculptures created by Wyland. The most beautiful collection is Wyland's extraordinary marine life bronzes. His art is aimed at protecting sea life.

Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
7
Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum

7) Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum (must see)

Ernest Hemingway's house was transformed into a museum that tells us something about the life and career of one of the most well-known American writers. This place is a National Historic Landmark that attracts crowds of tourists. This was Hemingway's home from 1931 to 1939, although he retained title to the home until he died. It is a private, for-profit landmark and tourist attraction now populated by six and seven-toed cats that are descendants of Hemingway's cats. His mansion with its beautiful garden is located in the heart of Old Town Key West. Here, the famous author wrote some of his best novels.

Why You Should Visit:
The house is terrific, the Hemingway memorabilia is great, the guided tour comes at no extra cost, and you can afford yourself the time to explore the grounds (with a small pond) on your own.

Tip:
Don't miss the sad but adorable six-toed kitty graveyard in the back.
They only take cash on the door so make sure you have some.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm

Walking Tours in Key West, Florida

Create Your Own Walk in Key West

Create Your Own Walk in Key West

Creating your own self-guided walk in Key West is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Key West Introduction Walk

Key West Introduction Walk

Key West is one of the richest cities in the USA. The city is famous for its shipwrecks and also for the famous American writers who lived here. The one thing that separates this city from other cities is its world-famous sunsets. This self-guided tour will lead you to different most popular landmarks of Key West.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
Key West Nightlife Walking Tour

Key West Nightlife Walking Tour

The most famous nightspots in Key West are those offering the world's most famous sunset. The city's tradition is to view the exceptional sunsets on the decks of bars. Besides the views the bars offer beer, a variety of tropical drinks and good music. This self-guided tour will lead you through the hottest nightspots of Key West.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
East Key West Walking Tour

East Key West Walking Tour

East Key West is the southernmost place in the USA. It is just 90 miles from Cuba. In this area you have the best beaches, a historical park, Key West Light which indicates the southernmost point of the USA and lots of other attractions. This self-guided tour will lead you through the eastern part of Key West showing to you some of its unique attractions and landmarks.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles

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