East Martello Museum & Gallery
The East Martello museum was part of an 1800s defense system designed to protect the coast of the US from invaders. With Fort Zachary Taylor as the base of operations for the system, the main fort, the tower at East Martello was one of two towers made of brick but never completed. It never got any canons, either. In fact, is was just basically a brick sculpture until 1950, when it became a museum and gallery.
Today, you can visit the old structure with its newer roof and learn about turtles, sponging, and other seaside things, as well as some Indian artifacts discovered when a golf course was created on Stock Island. There’s also more modern artifacts like a Cuban refugee boat made of scraps and junk from the 1960s.
At the art gallery, find local and contemporary art and a few permanent exhibits, including one of Mario Sanchez, local favorite. Mario Sanchez was born in Key West in 1908 and makes three-dimensional art pieces from found objects. His works depict Key West scenes and things like roosters, parades, pregnant ladies, and clouds. East Martello Museum and Art Gallery is on South Roosevelt Boulevard, which runs along the south side of Key West, near the airport.