Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation formed in 2013 to develop and operate Keys History & Discovery Center. The Discovery Center, on the property of the Islander Resort, is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Note: Due to pandemic-related staffing limitations, our hours of operation are modified to Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This change is expected to be in effect indefinitely, please check back for updates.)
The Discovery Center’s permanent exhibits include First People/Indians, Pirates/Wreckers/Salvagers, Spanish Treasure Fleets, Legends of the Line, and a permanent model replica of Indian Key circa 1840. Stories of the Upper Keys encompasses Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railway, the Overseas Highway, and the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, as well as the people who carved niches for themselves and their families from a considerably more inhospitable string of islands than the sub-tropical paradise we live in today. The Coral Reef Exploration exhibit, developed in partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory, comprises three aquariums showcasing our unique coral reef ecosystem and the challenges it faces.
Exhibits added to the permanent collection more recently include a 16th century cannon salvaged from a wreck off American Shoal lighthouse and a 18th century anchor from the 1733 New Spain fleet. And through a partnership with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, an exhibit featuring the importance of the sport fishery and the habitat in which they live The second floor of the museum operates as a rotating exhibit space and is also where you’ll find the Jerry Wilkinson Research Library and a state-of-the-art 35-seat movie theater featuring documentaries on Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railway, the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane and more!