ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Together with the nonprofit Diving With a Purpose and the National Association of Black Scuba Divers organizations, Islamorada’s History of Diving Museum recently premiered a featured exhibit called “Restoring Our Oceans, Preserving Our Heritage.”
To be on display through Dec. 31, 2019, the exhibit explores underwater archaeology and how it has been used to understand cultural and historical significance, the stories behind Florida Keys shipwrecks and more. The underwater sites featured in the display range from sailing vessels to slave ships.
Diving With a Purpose, formed in 2004, explores the African-American component of these stories. The organization has worked on projects with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the National Park Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including discovering remnants of a plane flown by the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.
Prominently located on the Overseas Highway at mile marker 82.9 bayside, the Florida Keys History of Diving Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and display of relics and artifacts related to the heritage of diving. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Special admission rates for seniors and retired U.S. military apply. In addition, as a Blue Star Museum member, the museum offers free admission for active-duty military families through Labor Day.
During museum tours, visitors come within inches of the earliest diving machines, including a full-scale replica of an all-wood diving bell; the Parade of Nations, a collection of 25 historic hard-hat dive helmets from around the world; and exhibits illustrating significant contributions made by men and women in the progression of modern-day scuba diving and underwater exploration.
Visitors also can participate in more of the museum’s valuable yearlong educational resources with a free “Immerse Yourself!” lecture series, held the third Wednesday of every month.
Museum and exhibit information: divingmuseum.org
Islamorada visitor information: fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
The Parade of Nations is a unique collection of 25 historic hard-hat dive helmets from around the world.