Coral Reef Exploration
Through a partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory, the permanent exhibit named Coral Reef Exploration, is closer to reality and expected to be installed in the fall. The comprehensive exhibit will feature three aquariums, educational storyboards, interactive kiosks and video monitors focused on providing both a beautiful and educational view of our unique coral reef ecosystem and the challenges it faces.
The largest of the aquariums is named in memory of Harold & Bettie Bartlett who loved the waters of the Florida Keys, is 1,250 gallons. It will showcase species that make their home on and around the Florida Keys coral reefs, including corals, fish and invertebrates. A 280-gallon aquarium featuring live coral is named for the Charles G. Wright Endowment for Humanity. A second 280-gallon aquarium housing invasive lionfish is named in honor of Juanita Russell Knudsen.
In addition to the donations for the large aquariums noted above, this $250,000 project is funded in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council and through in-kind contributions from Mote, including annual maintenance and upkeep once installed. To reach our goal, an additional $31,400 is needed.
The Caroenas Cuban Boat Exhibit
The Caroenas exhibit will explore the reasons and the realities of the attempted crossing of the hazardous stretch of water separating Cuba from the United States. It has wreaked havoc on ships built by professional craftsmen for hundreds of years. Yet, for decades desperate Cubans have risked their lives to make this crossing in primitive vessels often constructed from whatever their builders were able to find, a list that includes inner tubes, wooden planks, rope, canvas, 55-gallon barrels, and automobile parts. By comparison, the 17-foot fishing boat Caroenas, used to make this crossing and discovered near Conch Key, appears well equipped. The Caroenas exhibit is being developed in front of the entrance to the Keys History & Discovery Center and in addition to the boat, will feature educational storyboards and seating. The fundraising goal for this project is $10,000; to date, $6,600 is still needed to fully fund the exhibit.
The Bronze Cannon Exhibit
The Bronze Cannon Exhibit will explore three primary subjects. Interpretive panels will tell the history of the 8-foot long 16th century bronze cannon found off American Shoal in the Lower Keys. Facts about the carriage, hand-crafted from a 16th century design using period correct wood and custom-made iron pieces by Campbell Cannon and Carriage Works, will be given. The history of the 16th century shipwreck the cannon is thought to have come from will also be explored, as will the story of the men who discovered it, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s position on cultural resources. The fundraising goal for this project is $15,000; to date, $3,990 is still needed to fully fund the exhibit.
Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. State of Florida registration number: CH38469. EIN: 46-1936911.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 800-435-7352 WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.