Key West Boasts New Museums

KEY WEST -- Agents booking vacation tour groups, student groups and families to South Florida during the next few months might consider including an overnight or longer stopover in Key West, where three museums have introduced exhibits tied to the 100th anniversary of the Spanish American War.

Only 90 miles from Cuba, Key West was the final port of call for the USS Maine, which was blown up in Havana harbor on Feb. 15, 1898, killing 266 men. Twenty-four sailors are buried in the Maine Memorial plot in a local cemetery.

Museum programs follow:

  • The Key West Art & Historical Society's "Remember the Maine" exhibit at the East Martello Civil War Museum is on view through Aug. 12. The exhibit details the crew's leisure time spent in Key West and includes a handcrafted model of the battleship and contemporary newspaper clippings as well as a Maine life preserver and an anchor. The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $2 for children; group rates are $2.50 for adults and $2 for children.
    East Martello Civil War Museum
    Phone: (305) 296-3913
  • The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum's "Battleship!" exhibit runs through Sept. 30 and reflects life on warships, including medical facilities, engines and weapons. A separate diorama shows how the Spanish fleet was destroyed. The "Run Ashore" exhibit depicts the fleet's welcome home and 1898 "attractions" for sailors such as Key West's bars and brothels. Admission: $6.50 for adults and $2 for children; group prices vary.
    Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
    Phone: (305) 294-2633
  • The Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum operates an exhibit through Aug. 15 covering the life of President William McKinley, who was in office during the war. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $3.75 for children; groups are $6.50 and $3.50, respectively.
    Little White House Museum
    Phone: (305) 294-9911
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