Viva 500 The Hidden History of the Dry Tortugas 1513 - 2013

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Date: June 13, 2013
Contact: General Park Information, 305-242-7700
Contact: Media Contact Linda Friar, 305-242-7714

Dry Tortugas National Park will join the state of Florida and many partners in commemorating 500 years of history since Ponce De Leon landed in Florida. We invite all Florida residents and visitors arriving to explore or communities to visit spectacular national park and the Key West area to enjoy special programs at the park and the Eco Discovery Center.

Join archeologists and park rangers for a day of special programs on Garden Key and to experience the most pristine 19th century fortification in the National Park Service - Fort Jefferson.

Experts in archeology and history will provide an opportunity to learn about the rich archaeological history of the Dry Tortugas National Park on Friday June 21.There will be several informal interactive programs for the whole family to enjoy.

In honor of this special occasion the ferry, Yankee Freedom III, has arranged for an informal interpretive program on the boat provided by a unformed conquistador who will be wandering among visitors travelling to the park on the 21st.Also on the boat trip that day will be representatives from the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Florida who'll provide informal talks on turtle rescue.All in all it'll be a really special day at Dry Tortugas National Park so make your travel plans now as there is limited space on both the boat and seaplane.

If you're a landlubber and not up to the boat trip to the park you can enjoy a series of fascinating lectures at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center in Key West on Saturday June 22.

"Viva 500: The Hidden History of the Dry Tortugas": an afternoon of talks about the archaeology and cultural history of the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys including Guest speakers from Dry Tortugas National Park and the Florida Public Archeology Network (FPAN). ( include - Las Tortugas in the Age of Sail, Myths and Medicines of 1513, Echoes of the Past: Historic Graffiti at Fort Jefferson, Archaeology of the Dry Tortugas in 10 Objects, and Archaeological surveys of New Ground Reef and the slave ship Henrietta Marie.

When and Where:

June 21 -

On the parade grounds of Ft. Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park (10am to 3pm) - contact the Yankee Freedom (1-800-634-0939) for ferry reservations

June 22-

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center at 33 East Quay Road, Key West, FL (1pm to 3:30pm)

Who -The programming has been developed and will be delivered by a diverse group of cultural resource professionals and archaeologists including:

  • Glenn Singer, Park Manager Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Melissa Memory - Chief of Cultural Resources, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Michele Williams - Director of Southeast Florida Public Archaeology Network
  • Sarah Nohe - Outreach Coordinator for Southeast Florida Public Archaeology Network
  • Sarah Miller - Director of Northeast Florida Public Archaeology Network
  • Corey Malcolm - Director of Archaeology for the Mel Fischer Maritime Heritage Society
  • Diane Silvia - Executive Director of the Historic Florida Keys Foundation

Why -

This year Florida is commemorating the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon coming to Florida.Information about this state-wide initiative is available at:

The purpose of our three day series of events is to recognize the day (approximately June 20th 1513) that Ponce de Leon came to what is now known as the Dry Tortugas National Park ( and ).Our programming focuses on introducing people to the archaeology and cultural history of the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys, and offering a hands-on program on cemetery preservation.

Partners: Florida Public Archaeology Network, NPS, Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, Yankee Freedom

Last updated: April 14, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

40001 SR-9336
Homestead, FL 33034


(305) 242-7700

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