History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys
, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

History of Diving Museum

We stopped at History of Diving Museum on a recent dive trip to the Florida Keys. First that sounded a bit boring; then I read every single plaque, description, and photo caption. The place is absolutely stuffed full of fascinating equipment and details.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Their invitation to “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” is so accurate – the museum presents in chronological order the entire story of mankind’s attempt to survive underwater.

I’m going to give you a sneak peek – and there are so many more exhibits, like the evolution of regulators and rebreathers, surface communication, the Mark V diving helmet, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Parade of Nations Helmet Exhibit

This display of diving helmets from around the world invites closer inspection to identify the similarities and differences.

Each country displayed revealed their style of diving helmet with differences in number of bolts, materials used, size, shape, even inclusion of windows.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

The Treasure Room

We couldn’t get enough of the knowledge – SCUBA and free diving are both featured. We had some fun attempting to lift a heavy silver bar. Yes, it was a lot heavier than we anticipated!

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Timeline of Diving

Holding our breath presented quite a challenge – next, we tried to match free divers’ lung capacity and failed miserably! This exhibit accompanies over 4,000 years of diving history, including a replica of Edmond Halley’s 1691 diving bell. You can sit inside the bell and ponder the early breath-hold divers.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

A couple days after we visited, we saw on social media that the museum had its biggest day ever with the most visitors ever recorded – in fact, it was a rainy day. I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple hours in the Keys if you get rained out or your dive gets postponed. You will learn a lot!

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Make Your Own Diving Helmet

The section on home-made diving helmets is unbelievable – for example, shown above, the top of a water heater is used for part of the helmet! Plenty of other quirky household items used on other attempts are displayed.

The self-made helmets were fascinating; in fact, this is only a sample of some of them. Each one warranted a thorough examination of the ingenuity and creativity of the maker.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Underwater Photography

Photographic devices from the ages; some we recognized from our lifetime, as well as some from our parents’ era.

Commercial Diving, Sport Diving

The museum includes artifacts of all types, with thorough descriptions and historical information. We learned so much, and we now are inspired to conduct more research on particular topics on our own.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Beebee’s Lab and Marine Biology

This exhibit is a replication of William Beebe’s lab aboard the Arcturus where he studied birds and became known as the father of modern marine biology. Below I suggest a book about Beebe; he was an incredible naturalist.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Ship’s Store

There’s a pretty inclusive ship’s store filled with more than just “museum store geegaws.” Bill settled for reading about diving on this dive trip to the Florida Keys – a broken arm kept him out of the water this time.

The museum is open daily 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with extended hours the third Wednesday of every month until 8:00 p.m. for their free monthly presentation series. Check their website for upcoming events. They are located at 82990 Overseas Highway MM 83, Islamorada, FL 33036, phone (305) 664-9737.

Active duty military and up to five immediate family members receive free admission through the Blue Star Museum program.

, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

Toxic Sunscreens Banned in the Florida Keys!

We loved seeing that the History of Diving Museum stocks reef-safe, environmentally-friendly Stream2Sea products.

For those of you who aren’t visiting the museum this week, for the smartest eco-friendly travel kits imaginable, head to Stream2Sea and take a look at the completely guilt-free products. Don’t be duped by front labels on brands that say “reef safe” or “natural ingredients.” Often advertising misleads!

Stream2Sea is the only completely reef- and coral-larvae safe sunscreens and shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and sting relief, and they package it in sugar-cane resin containers, not single-use plastic containers! Don’t get sent to the sunscreen police! Use code “KimW” for 10% off your order.

Our visit to the History of Diving Museum Store inspired some book purchases; their selection is varied and delightful. If you can’t make it down there, here are my top choices:

Ocean-Inspired Reading

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson is the “if you only read one book from this list…” it’s THIS book. It is an incredible tale of identifying a mystery sub. If you have any interest at all in diving, this book will keep you up at night! I don’t want to tell you too much and spoil it – it’s a real page-turner!

The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson is not only is a pleasurable read, and also a practical guide for identifying sea life. Great introduction to marine biology, human impact, environmental impacts.

Treasure Diving Holidays by Jane and Barney Crile takes you back to the 1950’s with delightful descriptions of early sport diving in the US. Barney invented modern mastectomy, both were friends of Rachel Carson. Perfect book to read at Portside; takes you right back to an uncomplicated era.

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson the title says it all! What a fun summer read!

The Last Dive: A Father and Son’s Fatal Descent into the Ocean’s Depths by Bernie Chowdhury tells a tragic side story from Shadow Divers about father and son team Chris and Chrissy Rouse’s push beyond human limits in solving the mystery of the undocumented World War II German U-boat off New York Harbor.

The Remarkable Life of William Beebe: Explorer and Naturalist by Carol Grant Gould tells of Beebe’s 1930’s trek a half mile down into the ocean depths. Any book about him interests me; his travels to the Far East, the Galapagos… He was a fascinating character; shooter, swimmer, pilot, photographer, good writer, friend of Theodore Roosevelt and mentor to Rachel Carson.

Thank You For Reading

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, History of Diving Museum // “Immerse Yourself in Diving History” // Islamorada, Florida Keys

What to Read Next

In Search of the Best Sailing Hat Ever

Summer Reading 2019 // Incredible Books about Naturalists, Diving, and the Ocean

How to Dispose of Toxic Sunscreen Banned in Several Vacation Destinations

This was just one stop in our Ultimate Florida Keys Road Trip // Key West Dive Trip!

What to Watch Next: Trying & Applying Reef Safe Mineral Sunscreen – Tinted and White // Deep Water Happy

Updated August 31, 2019


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