One of the most prominent and architecturally beautiful buildings in Key West is called the "Custom House" and it is the home of the Key West Museum of Art & History. Built of solid red brick, The Custom House was constructed in 1891, and once served as a post office and court house, and then was abandoned; but after a major renovation lasting 9 years and costing several millions, it plays a major role in Key West once again to this marvelous museum.
The museum houses folk art paintings by Mario Sanchez, portraits of famous Key West citizens, exhibits on Ernest Hemingway including personal items, and many Key West history exhibits including some on local pirate life.
One gallery is devoted to an exhibit called, "Coping with Depression, the WPA in the 1930s." I think this title is a little deceiving because it is related to the 1930's Depression Era's Works Progress Administration which was a government program to give jobs to people during the Great Depression. Art work in the Dogwood Gallery is meant to depict "Key West in the '30s through drawings, sketches, intaglio prints, paintings and promotional brochures produced by the artists of the Works Art Project."
We had planned to see the Museum as our last stop of the day, but the fierce heat and humidity was overwhelming and I had to return to the ship. However, I would have been greatly interested in seeing Mario Sanchez's wood paintings of Old Key West and especially the work in the Dogwood Gallery.
The Museum is opened everyday but Christmas from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for children and students with ID.
$9 for seniors (62+), AAA Members and locals with ID.
Front & Greene Sts.
Open Daily, 9-5
Can't miss it, building completed in 1891, restored over a 9 year period at $9million dollar cost.
Housed Federal and District Courts, Post Office and Customs.
Now is a beautiful Art & History Museum
$5.00 Seniors & Locals
the key west museum of art & history is located in the historic key west customs house. this museum has on display old key west relics and a art gallery. much of the art on display is from local key west artists. for those interested in art and history this museum is worth a stop.
The Custom House, built in 1891, served as a post office, court house and government center when wrecking made Key West the richest city, per capita, in the U.S. But by the 1930s, the island city was bankrupt.
Eventually, the building was boarded up and completely abandoned. Now, after a 9-year, $9 million restoration project, the Key West Art & Historical Society has returned the big red brick building to its former glory.
what is there to see
- Meet Key West's famous people through portraits by Paul Collins.
- Stand in the very room where the U.S. decided to go to war with Spain, following the sinking of the battleship USS Maine.
- Learn about Ernest Hemingway's life in Key West, where he wrote many of his most famous novels. See his bloodstained WWI uniform and other personal items that created his legendary status as an adventurer and writer.
- And there is more to see!
Every day except Christmas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can find all the history of Key West here in this fantastic museum. Hemingway, Mario Sanchez, the sinking of the USS Maine, the history of some important Key West families…
I guess we spent 2 hours watching and reading. There was also an exhibition with Laurent de Brunhoff’s drawings from the books “Babar’s USA”. Seems that, he lives in Key West.
It’s a didactic museum. Everything is fascinating. And the staff is friendly and helpful.
The Key West Museum of Art & History is located in the old Custom House, which is worth seeing itself if you are into architecture. Here you can see some beautiful art and a great exhibit on Ernest Hemingway, including artifacts from his life such as his bloodstained WWI uniform. On a historical note, one of the rooms in the building is where the US decided to go to war with Spain after the attack on the USS Maine.
Admission is charged. Hours are 9am-5pm daily except Christmas.