The Key West/Bahamas Connection
January 18 - April 7, 2019
Custom House Museum | Bryan Gallery
Aside from the geographic proximity to one another, the islands of the Bahamas and the island of Key West have much in common. The latter’s original settlers were mainly of Bahamian descent, particularly from the Abacos, Harbour Island and Eleuthera. The Bahamians, already proficient in the shipbuilding, fishing, wrecking and sponging industries relocated to Key West in the hopes of enhanced economic fortunes. Once it was established that Key West could be prosperous, Bahamians moved to the island in large numbers, sometimes even bringing everything, including their homes, with them. The result was that Key West effectively became an extension of the Bahamas; the food, the architecture, the industries, the music and the families all were closely aligned with their former lives.
This exhibit seeks to explore both the historical and contemporary connections between the two locations, demonstrating how much of Key West’s culture and community is deeply rooted in its Bahamian heritage.