Originally intended as a haven for ship-wrecked sailors and travelers, the House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert’s Bar in Stuart is the oldest building in Martin County. The refuge protected many from the storms offering shelter to the survivors of the Georges Valentine - an Italian brigantine which wrecked just 100 yards off shore. (The wreckage is still there today.) There is an entire exhibit hall dedicated to the Georges Valentine Shipwreck Site.
This is the only remaining House of Refuge in the area. It was once part of 10 different buildings found along Florida’s east coast.
The building that was built back in 1875 is now home to model ship collections, maritime shipwreck artifacts, aquariums that are home to both tropical and native fish and a hall which features a series of continually changing exhibits. The House of Refuge is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a must-see when visiting the area. The Keeper’s living quarters were restored and remain in the same state as they did in 1904.
When visiting you can explore the museum by yourself on a self-guided tour or you can schedule a guided tour for a group or just yourself.
The House of Refuge is located at 301 SE MacArthur Blvd. on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, FL 34994. Click here for more information or call 772.225.1875. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1-4 p.m.
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