General

Construction began in 1862 by the U.S. Army on this Civil War Fort and Tower in order to provide extra protection for Key West and defend against the possibility of a Confederate sea assault.

While Key West remained a Union-controlled island during the Civil War, the majority of Key West citizens supported the Confederacy.  With such a rift, it is perhaps surprising that no battles took place on or around the island.  Having no use for the Fort once the war was drawing to a close, Fort East Martello was abandoned in its unfinished state by the Army.

In 1950, the Key West Art & Historical Society, with its own army of volunteers, cleared away years of debris and dust to open Fort East Martello as its first museum.  With continued community support, the Society restored this national landmark in accordance with its original 1860s design.  Today, visitors can explore the preserved battlement’s collection of relics from the Civil War, learn about the wrecking and cigar-manufacturing industries which shaped the Florida Keys, view the unique folk art of Mario Sanchez and the imaginative metal sculptures of Stanley Papio, as well as meet the Ghosts of East Martello, including the infamous Robert the Doll.

Available departures

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TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "History, Art, and oh yeah, Robert the Doll!"

    Reviewed 19 April 2018

    Like many people, I came here mainly to see Robert the Doll. I have always been interested in odd and off the beaten path attractions. After listening to stories about Robert for a while now, I was...

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  • "Interesting and Educational"

    Reviewed 19 April 2018

    I visited the museum during a day trip to Key West and it was my absolute favorite place. Robert the Doll is it's most famous exhibit and not only did I see him but across from him was an old hearse...

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  • "Neat tour, Robert wants you to visit"

    Reviewed 02 April 2018

    Went here as part of a night tour, great history and story and of course there's Robert, a day or night visit is a must

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3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.

Key West, FL 33040.  

Phone: (305) 296-3913  

Open daily from 9:30AM – 4:30PM, Closed Christmas