Florida Slave Trade Portal

This portal provides web access to the Florida Slave Trade Documentation and Education Center, located at the
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, in Key West, Florida. Its purpose is to offer a broad picture of the transatlantic slave trade through historical evidence from the museum’s collections. 

The portal features a virtual exhibition of objects from the collections in order to share the museum’s holdings and ongoing research with the public.

Archives and Collections Database:
The largest group of artifacts in the collection were recovered from the merchant slaver, Henrietta Marie, which sank off the Florida Keys in 1700. The Henrietta Marie collection provides the most complete group of objects from a slaving vessel in North America. It sank while in the course of trade and contains all the items and equipment needed on the Middle Passage, as well as personal items belonging to the sailors and ship parts.

In addition to artifacts from the Henrietta Marie, the collections include: 
  • Items from the Africa trader, known as the Ivory Wreck (c. 1620)
  • The examination of the slaver Guerrero and  the British anti-slavery vessel, HMS Nimble (1827)
  • An important artifact from the slaver Brothers (1858)
  • The examination of the Peter Mowell (1860)
  • A small collection pertaining to the slavers William, Wildfire, and Bogota (1860), and the African Burial Ground of Key West (1860)
  • Original letters and period publications describing experiences of the trade, the laws that governed it, and changes to that law.

Via the portal, educators have access to the classroom materials and lesson plans, developed for use free of charge. The slave trade is a difficult subject to address with students of all ages. The portal provides guidelines to assist teachers to do so from the point of view of world history as well as specific evidence. The museum welcomes feedback at education@melfisher.org

The Florida Slave Trade Documentation and Education Center has been made possible by a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.