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Al Gore

Past meets present at unique Hutchinson Island museums

Past meets present at unique Hutchinson Island museums

Hutchinson Island, the barrier island east of Stuart and Fort Pierce, is best known for its miles of unspoiled beaches.

But in hot and humid September, it's a good place to visit for a pair of captivating air-conditioned museums -- one preserving something very old and one featuring something very new.

The old: Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge, a lovely 1876 wooden cottage, which tells a little-known story of Florida's system to save shipwrecked sailors. It also is located on a stunning beach with coquina rocks and a shipwreck you can snorkel 100 yards off shore.

The new: The Elliott Museum, rebuilt three years ago with an innovative museum exhibit, where visitors use a...