The first survey of the Florida Reef was performed by naturalist Louis Agassiz aboard the Coast Survey Schooner Petrel. Lieutenant James Totten of the U.S. Army accompanied the Coast Survey team when the initial study of the Florida Reef system was made in 1852. Lighthouses of the Florida Reef is being presented in partnership with Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation and Key West Art & Historical Society (KWAHS) in the first of a series of Keys-wide collaborative efforts. Curators Brad Bertelli and Cori Convertito collaborated to create the exhibits.
The Keys History & Discovery Center, located at MM 82 in Islamorada, will focus on the series of lighthouses marking the reef line between Hillsboro Inlet and Alligator Reef, visible from the beach at The Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost. The Key West Art & Historical Society will present an exhibition of lighthouses dotting the reef from Sombrero Reef to the Dry Tortugas. To view the exhibit visit the Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters located at 938 Whitehead St. The exhibits will reveal not only stories of the lighthouses that mark the reef, but also information on the politics and early efforts to warn passing mariners of the treacherous reef system. These efforts included the use of lightships that could be anchored near particularly dangerous sections of the reef as well as the use of 15 screw-pile day markers, or beacons, installed by James Totten that physically marked the reef in 1852. Lighthouses of the Florida Reef will through the fall.
The exhibit opens Thursday, July 23, at the Discovery Center in Islamorada, MM 82, located at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost. The exhibit is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $12. Admission for seniors is $10 and children 13-under are free. The Key West Lighthouse is open daily 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for children six and up, and free for under six. The Discovery Center is operated by the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, a not-for-profit organization formed to develop and operate the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center. For more information, call 305-922-2237 or visit our website at www.keysdiscovery.com.For more information about Key Wests Arts & Historical Society, contact Convertito at 305-295-6616, Ext. 112, or visit www.kwahs.org.