MEL FISHER MARITIME MUSEUM
Treasure hunter Mel Fisher spent over 16 years searching for treasure of the Spanish galleon Atocha with its priceless artifacts and treasures. Today the museum is filled with the gold, silver and jewels of his discovery along with exhibits about the maritime history of shipwrecking. Learn about New World courage and exploration while engaging with exhibits. This museum is the premiere location for rich maritime history in Key West!
For those that may not be familiar with The Atocha or more formally, the Nuestra Señora de Atocha. It was the flag-ship of one of the many excursions to and from the new world, bringing back riches to Europe.
In the summer of 1622, it and others in the fleet hit a hurricane off the coast of Key West. This armada was one of the largest to have set sail. With a fleet of 28 ships, it took the workers and accountants two whole months to have an accounting of what was to be loaded on to this ship alone! After this delay and many others, the fleet finally took off from the harbor in Havana. With a count of passengers and crew of more than 250 individuals, all were lost in the storm, with the exception of 3 crew members and 2 slaves.
This was one of the, if not the richest cargoes, ever to set sail from the Caribbean. With silver, gold, copper, gems, tobacco and indigo from Panama and Columbia. While some of the treasures were salvaged in the time following the wreck, the Atocha, itself, was never found.
That is until the late 1970's, when treasure hunter Mel Fisher and his sons found the "mother-load"... They found over 100,000 silver coins (pieces of eight) 1,000's of ingots, gold coins, emeralds and other wildly beautiful and exotic peices of historical value.
The site is still being worked on, to this day and new discoveries all the time. Step back into history and maybe even take home a piece of this golden treasure, for yourself. The Key West Express docks just blocks from the current museum where you can see and learn about Mel Fisher and his legacy on the island or step across the street to the Shipwreck Museum to learn even more about Key West's rich maritime history.