Travel Tips

3 Tips for Families Visiting Key West Museum of Arts and History at the Custom House

Lovely Key West Florida has a lot to offer families.  Besides the lovely beaches and quaint vibe of the town there are many opportunities for learning and education:  The Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters, Fort East Martello and the Custom House.  We visited Key West earlier this year and stayed in the famous Mallory Square, walking distance from the Custom House Museum.  My girls loved the giant statue at the front of the museum and frequently asked me to take them on a visit to the museum.  On our final morning in Key West we visited this small museum.

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Our time spent there was brief, yet interesting.  Here are our 3 tips for families planning a visit to the Custom House Museum in Key West.

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Plan for a short visit.

First of all, the museum is not very big at all and while the exhibits there hold a bounty of information to keep your family engaged, it does not take a lot of time to work your way through the place.  Advance study on the history of Key West (even on a basic level) will help your children engage even more in the information found there.

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Be cautious of exhibits while you tour as some may not be child friendly.

While most of the exhibits provided a wealth of historical knowledge and prompted discussion with the kids, not all of the exhibits were appropriate for my girls ages.  There was one art exhibit that featured somewhat suggestive art Tennessee Williams; I was fortunately able to chuckle and quickly usher my girls into another room once I figured out what the abstract paintings were of but I had no warning prior to entering the space.  Fortunately, my kids were oblivious to the details of the material so it was easy to move on to more safe exhibits for the rest of our visit.

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This detailed exhibit of the history of the Key West waterfront held our girls attention for some time...

This detailed exhibit of the history of the Key West waterfront held our girls attention for some time…

Take time to walk the perimeter of the museum grounds and see the awesome statues found there.

Our girls LOVED looking for the statues surrounding the museum and posing with them.  I was surprised at how entertained they were with them, making up stories about the people they depicted and giving them names.  It was fun for me, taking pics and enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Mallory Square and the nearby port.

The girls went around hugging and holding conversations with the statues on property. It was fun to watch and entertaining for me as the parent!

The girls went around hugging and holding conversations with the statues on property. It was fun to watch and entertaining for me as the parent!

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All in all, we enjoyed our short time spent at the Custom House museum.  The Key West Arts and Historical society has a lot to offer families.  On our next visit we will definitely take in the Lighthouse and Fort Martello, two other historical sites maintained and sponsored by the organization.

Have any of you visited Key West as a family?  What were your favorite family activities while in the Florida Keys?

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2 Comments

  • Reply Wendy February 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Hey Jeulle,
    Your kiddos had a blast! We love, love field trips as well. I’ll note this one when next we travel down south. We actually have a few notable pieces of this same sculptor’s work, his work is very recognizable to our kids now, he is featured at https://www.nationalharbor.com/art/ , National Harbor, MD…John Seward Johnson II. Take your kiddos to DC to come check them out! 🙂

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam February 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Wendy, how awesome! We are originally from the DC/MD area (living in FL only 3 years) and LOVE the National Harbor. I actually remember visiting (and playing around/on) the Awakening as a little kid at it’s original location in DC! I didn’t make the connection on the sculptor’s name though! Thanks for the tip!

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