I’ve written before about the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada and my total admiration for Dr. Sally Bauer who founded the museum with her husband, Joe. The couple, who initially hadn’t planned to amass the huge collection of historical diving equipment and material that they did, were able to realize their dream of seeing the museum open. Sadly, Joe passed away soon after that, yet Sally has not only continued with the effort, she has gained well-deserved international recognition for her work. And as important as establishing the museum has been, there was always the intent to create a world-class research repository.
And so it is that the Reserach Library with the Bauer Library Collection is coming up on it’s one-year anniversary. The library is co-located in the multi-purpose room where beautiful custom-built bookcases line the walls, a special drawer case is set up for prints and other flat documents, and the requisite library ladder allows access to volumes that are high over head. The rare book section includes the oldest volume from 1534, a book that provides a treatise on warfare than mentions diving. (http://www.divingmuseum.org/wp/eventsandeducation/research-library/).
Records of man’s attempts to exist underwater date back 4,000 years and much of that history, in either original or academic form, is now availalble to read about thanks to the Bauers. The complete “Proceedings of Royal Society” where Sir Edmund Halley gives his personal account of entering the water in 1716 in the diving bell he invented is among the 2500 volumes and other material in the library. Naturally there is a first edition of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and so much more. Viewing of the collection tucked safely in the bookcases is open to everyone and use of the library is free to Museum members and there is a small fee for non-members. It is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the history of diving specifically, but also overlaps into numerous other areas of maritime, engineering, and scientific history. On-site research can be arranged by calling, emailing, or writing to the musuem. That’s History of Diving Museum 82990 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036; Telephone 305-664-9737; Email: email@example.com