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In local communities across Florida, humanities-rich programming is making a lasting impact in the hearts and minds of Sunshine State residents and visitors alike. Florida Humanities is proud to partner with local community champions to bring you high-quality public programming through Community Project Grants, Florida Talks, Museum on Main Street, and more.

Alert: Some events may be canceled or postponed. We work to ensure that our events calendar remains accurate. We strongly urge you to call the event contact for any program you are interested in to confirm that the event is still planned.

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Key West Botanical Garden Society Speaker Series: Chug Collection Conservators

May 20 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is hosting the Key West Botanical Garden Society Speaker Series Chug Collection Conservator Dr. John R. Bratten, for a presentation of the Cuban “Chug” Boat Project: “Documenting Hope and Resolve.” This presentation is a follow up of maritime archaeologists at the University of West Florida embarked on a project to record a collection of small boats and rafts that provided a conduit to freedom for unknown Cuban citizens.

Since the 1980s, the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden has acquired 10 refugee vessels and placed them in an outside exhibit. Many of the home-built vessels arrived in the Florida Keys or the Dry Tortugas in conjunction with the Mariel Boatlift in 1980. Others followed in the wake of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1996-the “wet foot, dry foot policy.” After arriving in Florida, many of these vessels were sunk, burned, or dismantled. These vessels testify to the struggle of the refugees and social conditions in Cuba; the unique collection is worthy of saving, documenting, and exhibiting. When viewed as a group, the watercraft are a tribute to the ingenuity and resolve of the hopeful immigrants.

Admission is $5, or free for Key West Botanical Garden Members. This program is funded in part through a Florida Humanities Community Project Grant in partnership with the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.

Event Details

Event Date/time:

May 20 @ 1:00 pm -
May 20 @ 2:30 pm


Presenter Information:
John R. Bratten, Ph.D., Professor and Administrative Fellow Office of the Provost Department of Anthropology University of West Florida
Event Fee:
Event Type:

Event Contact:

Misha McrRae
(305) 296-1501

Event Venue:

Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
5210 College Road
Key West, FL 33040
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Venue Phone:
(305) 296-1501

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