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Archive for the ‘Key West Museums’ Category

Widows Walk

October 24th, 2017 by Piper Smith

A widow’s walk is also known as a Widow’s Watch. It is a small railed rooftop platform frequently found on 19th-century North American coastal houses. They are a common sight to see on Original Conch Houses built during the Wrecking Era.

Some properties in Key West with a widow’s walk include:

The Curry Mansion, Sarabeth’s, John Lowe Jr. House, Island City House.

Replica Doll House of the Lowe House on Southard St.

Asa Tift

August 22nd, 2017 by Piper Smith

Asa Tift was the elder son of Captain Amos Tift, one of the Read the rest of this entry »

6 Undiscovered Wrecks

July 18th, 2017 by Piper Smith

Is it possible to know of wrecks that have yet to be discovered? How do we track that?

Today, we have GPS technology where locating sinking (and floating) ships is easier to locate. As recent as the early 1900’s Ships have sunk and are yet to be found. Because of currents and drifts in the ocean it is difficult to pinpoint an exact location without the use of today’s technology.

The locations known of these sunken ships is a “guestimation” of their course of travel and where they submerged into the water.

Six wrecks that embody this situation are the Santa Maria 1492), USS Indianapolis (1945), HMS Endeavour (1778), The Griffin (1679), Shackleton’s Endurance (1914), Bonhomme Richard (1779).

 

Get to Know Mindy Tucker

July 4th, 2017 by Piper Smith

Title: Supervisor

What brought you to Key West?

A job in an art gallery

What’s your favorite thing about your character?

The costumes I get to wear

What historical fact did you find most interesting about the wrecking industry?

The amount of wrecks there were and the amount of money it brought to Key West.

What’s your favorite thing about the KWSTM?

The ability to share the history of our island with people who didn’t realize our past.

Treasure Hunting from the Shore

June 20th, 2017 by Piper Smith

Every once in awhile an article in newspaper appears talking about a new wreck that has been found and the treasures that have been claimed. An exciting experience for these treasure hunters as they spend most of their life and career looking for the motherlode.

Now, not everyone can do such a feat, BUT we can find treasures right here on shore.

All you need is a backyard or ample of amount of land that you can dig into, a metal detector, and a shovel.

If you live on a coast, all you need is to walk along the shoreline- treasures wash up to shore all the time.

Patience is key when it comes to looking for that piece of sea glass, gold, or fossil. But it’s not impossible.

Glass Buoys

May 23rd, 2017 by Piper Smith

Glass buoys were used in the ocean waters to support large fishing nets- could be found with many individual fishing nets strung together, sometimes even miles in extent. These buoys prevented the nets from sinking.  Glass buoys range in size from a golf ball to a basketball.

Visit us at the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum and get an up close look at these buoys.

Get to Know Jarrett Merkey

May 9th, 2017 by Piper Smith

Title: Actor/Supervisor

What brought you to Key West?

Born and raised here

What’s your favorite thing about your character?

I like Smokey Joes humor.

What historical fact did you find most interesting about the wrecking industry?

The entire process from wreck to payday.

What’s your favorite thing about the KWSTM?

Our comradery here and seeing our guests smile.

Ship Figureheads

April 18th, 2017 by Piper Smith

Leading back to before the Viking period (I know, I thought the vikings started them too) at around 350 and 650 A.D. ship figureheads began making an appearance on large vessels. They began when the Germanic were making way into Europe. A few centuries later and the Vikings began making ship figureheads to look like dragons.

This was during a time where most people could not read, so the Ship Figureheads were used as symbols to indicate the name of the ship and in some cases, also show status of wealth and power of a country.

In Germany, Belgium, and Holland ship figureheads were thought to be of good luck and contained spirits that would protect and guide the ship safely.

now-a-days, to see a ship figurehead you will mostly have to go to a museum… like the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum!!

This figure head can be found at KWSTM!

 

Ship in a Bottle

March 21st, 2017 by Piper Smith

A creative past-time that developed in the late 18th century can still be found as a hobby or creative outlet in today’s era.

The first requirement in creating a ship in a bottle is choosing the right bottle.

A preferred bottle has these characteristics:

  • a flat-base shape proper for the ship being built
  • pigment of the bottle that will help depict the ocean

other necessities for successfully building your ship are blocks of timber, cables, and gum.

The timber used for creating the ship must be durable but also easy to whittle into the ships shape.

When the desired shape of the ship is created it is time to begin crafting details such as cables, sails and masts.

After completing these tasks, it is time to insert and position your ship in the bottle.

The cables can be used to maneuver the ship into position and move about the bottle.

When set in position, the cables are pulled to raise the sails, and then are cut as your ship is now complete.

Though this is an incredibly brief  instruction on how this maritime past-time can be created, you can see that it comes with incredible patience, talent and perseverance to develop a successful product.

 

Get to know Michael Gibson

March 7th, 2017 by Piper Smith

Title: Operations Manager of the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum

What brought you to Key West?

Our kids grew up and my wife and I wanted to move as far South as we could without leaving the United States

What’s your favorite thing about your character?

I am related to Asa Tift

What historical fact did you find most interesting about the wrecking industry?

How the wrecking courts and judges controlled everything.

What’s your favorite thing about the KWSTM?

Working with a wonderful group of people.

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