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The Galleon Atocha
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is a 501 (c) (3) accredited, not-for-profit organization existing to research, interpret, and exhibit the maritime history of Florida and the Caribbean in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, and stimulate inquiry.

Join and Support​/ Donate an Object


The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Collections and Research Department is grateful when an individual or organization considers donating their artifacts to our institution. Careful consideration goes into the decision of whether an object is best placed here or if it would be better suited at another institution. Objects should fit within the research scope and mission statement of the museum. At a minimum, objects and artifacts must be legally acquired and have appropriate documentation, which may include copies of permits when required for legal collection. Collection staff will not accept objects left at the Museum unless prior arrangements have been made.

Research objects are rarely displayed but they are given the highest standard of care. Using professional best practices, collections staff prioritize preservation of these objects in perpetuity for future scientists, researchers, students, and public knowledge. Artifacts not suitable for research may be useful for education and outreach. These objects are critical to the museum's mission of educating the public.


We take the responsibility of accepting any object very seriously. It takes many hours of technical labor and significant resources to properly care for new objects. Objects are stored in rooms with strict environmental controls, and 24/7 onsite security. Objects are in state-of-the-art archival containers to insure their long-term preservation, and all relevant data is entered and integrated in our modern collection management database. Because of the expense associated with curating collections, donors may additionally choose to make a monetary gift to offset that cost.


The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum abides by all local, state and federal laws in the collecting and holding of objects in our collections. We cannot accept artifacts unless they have been legally and ethically collected. Unsolicited artifacts shipped to the museum, will be treated as abandoned property and disposed of. Please follow the proper procedure, to ensure the best care for the material.

Collections staff may be willing to identify objects if time and expertise allow. However, museums are legally and ethically prohibited from providing monetary estimates of the values of objects. A donor seeking an appraisal needs to seek the services of an accredited appraiser.

Objects and artifacts donations accepted by the museum may qualify the donor for a tax deduction. More information about tax deductions will be discussed with you during the formal donation process.

If you have questions about donating an object, please contact us .

If you have an artifact that needs identifying, please submit an online identification request. 

If you have a question about a specimen or an artifact, please contact the registrar.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum - Galleon "Atocha"
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