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Key West Museum Launches Laboratory Tours Revealing 17th Century Shipwrecked Treasure

by | Jun 2, 2014 | Press Releases

For decades, Key West visitors have explored the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum to view the Western Hemisphere’s richest single collection of 17th-century maritime and shipwreck antiquities.
Now, for the first time, they also can take behind-the-scenes tours of the museum’s laboratory where the priceless artefacts are studied and conserved by experts.
Located at 200 Greene Street, the museum is an internationally recognized centre for excavation, preservation, research and exhibition of New World maritime artefacts.
The core of its collections are the gold, silver, emeralds, weapons, rare navigational instruments and other objects from the Spanish galleons Nuestra Señora de Atocha and Santa Margarita, which sank off the Florida Keys in 1622.
As well as viewing the shipwrecks’ precious cargo, recovered in the 1970s and ’80s by pioneering shipwreck salvor and museum founder Mel Fisher, visitors to the lab can discover the stories behind it.
Guided by archaeologists and conservators, lab visitors learn about the painstaking work of recovering and preserving objects from these and other excavations. They also view pieces undergoing conservation, ranging from massive 17th-century cannons to ships’ fittings, period tools and small silver coins. A question-and-answer session also is included in the tour. Museum admission is $12.50 per adult or $22.50 including the guided lab tour.
The museum is open daily and lab tours are offered Monday through Friday.
For more information, visit www.melfishermuseum.org
For more information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit www.fla-keys.co.uk