Skip to Main Content

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
Spanish treasure ship wreck site. The blocky things are boxes filled with silver coins.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Field review by the editors.

Key West, Florida

"Maritime" is a euphemism for "sunken treasure" at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. Mel (1922-1998) was the self-proclaimed world's greatest treasure hunter, a former Indiana chicken farmer with a dogged American determination to strike it rich -- which he did, after 16 years of trying, when his son found the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha off of Key West. The Spanish treasure ship had sunk in a hurricane in 1622, along with roughly 40 tons of gold and silver, 70 pounds of priceless emeralds, and almost all of its crew.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
The Poison Cup and its magical gallstones.

Fisher became an instant celebrity multimillionaire and opened his Key West museum to showcase what he called his "fantastic treasures." Visitors gape at piles of gold and silver bars, coins, and jewelry, as well as a full-size recreation of the undersea wreck, while light classical and opera music plays softly in the background.

One highlight is a solid gold "poison cup" -- a chalice that would be filled with llama gallstones that supposedly detoxified any poison slipped into a beverage, by, say, opportunistic Spaniards... or gold-crazy treasure hunters.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

200 Greene St., Key West, FL
Follow US Hwy 1 south to Whitehead St. Turn right. Follow Whitehead St. to Greene St. You'll see the museum on the left.
M-F 8:30-5, Sa-Su 9:30-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $15.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Truman Bronze BustTruman Bronze Bust, Key West, FL - < 1 mi.
Truman's Little White HouseTruman's Little White House, Key West, FL - < 1 mi.
US 1 Milepost 0US 1 Milepost 0, Key West, FL - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Southernmost Point in Continental USA, Key West, FL - < 1 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Florida

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Florida.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Florida Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado (Apr 15-21, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings