Enlightened: Episode 1, Part 2


Did you know the U.S. Lighthouse Service initially declined the use of Fresnel lenses?

In part two of our first episode of Enlightened! (click here if you haven’t seen it yet!), find out why the federal government refused to utilize these revolutionary new lenses even after they were adopted throughout much of Europe.

Enlightened! is a St. Augustine Lighthouse educational program designed to serve our mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of our Nation’s Oldest Port as symbolized by our working St. Augustine Lighthouse.

Are you ready to get “Enlightened”?


Presenting Enlightened! A New St. Augustine Lighthouse Educational Program

Have you ever wondered about the history and science behind the St. Augustine Lighthouse? Well, wonder no more! We are going to take you along on an exploration of all the amazing things we do here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in our new YouTube series, Enlightened!

Enlightened is a way for us to share more with you — more stories, more history, more preservation, and more of the research we are doing every day to expand our understanding of people who interacted with the waterways around St. Augustine as part of their livelihood.

As the series grows and expands, we hope to add more interviews, viewer Q&As, and other elements that will allow our viewers to interact with the show and get all their burning Lighthouse questions answered.

Episode 1: The Fresnel Lens

For our first episode, we wanted to explore the heart of our Lighthouse (and all lighthouses, for that matter): the Fresnel lens! This magnificent piece is equal parts science and art, built with care and now preserved with care by our Museum staff.

Join us as we go inside the lens room (one of the few places at our Museum that is not accessible to the public) for an up-close look at our first order Fresnel lens.

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch each additional installment of the Fresnel lens episode in the coming weeks.

And don’t forget to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for more great content!

Paul Zielinski is Director of Interpretation for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. He received his master’s degree in Public History from the University of West Florida and joined the lighthouse family in 2011.

We’re Ready to Make a Difference in 2017!


The new year arrived with a burst of cold air (Florida winter last three whole days this year, it was tough, but we powered through!) and the promise of exciting things on the horizon.

Construction has begun on our new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center!

We’ve written before about our new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center, which is finally under construction, but we haven’t shared what this new facility will mean for us in terms of telling the stories of St. Augustine’s connections to World War II. Continue reading

Spreading Holiday Cheer to our Volunteers


With just a few days left before the Christmas holiday, our staff and trustees gathered together yesterday for one of our favorite annual traditions.

servinglineOur nonprofit museum would not exist without our incredible corps of volunteers. We have over 250 folks who help us with everything from sweeping the tower to office administration tasks to standing at the top and bottom of the tower all hours of the day to provide guest services for our 200,000 visitors a year.

This past year, our volunteers donated 21,745 hours of service, which saves the Museum about $512,312. That’s huge!

One of the ways we like to thank these wonderful volunteers is by throwing a barbecue around Christmas time featuring some delicious, homemade dishes from our staff, trustees, and some of the volunteers themselves.

Our Director of Finance Lee Capitano and Director of Museum Services Rick Cain worked for days to prepare this year’s assortment of barbecued meats, which were complimented by a cavalcade of tasty sides and desserts.


We can’t thank our volunteers enough — especially after all that they did to help us get back up and running after Hurricane Matthew!

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer at the Lighthouse, contact our Volunteer and Special Events Manager Loni Wellman at (904) 829-0745 ext. 213 or via email at lwellman@staugustinelighthouse.org.

Thanks again to our incredible volunteer crew and Happy Holidays!

Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Spiller and Volunteer and Special Events Manager Loni Wellman thanked volunteers on behalf of our staff and trustees for another great year!
Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Spiller and Volunteer and Special Events Manager Loni Wellman thanked volunteers on behalf of our staff and trustees for another great year!

Luminary Night 2016:
Photos, Winners, & Holiday Cheer


We rung in the Christmas season with RECORD crowds last night at our annual holiday open house, Luminary Night. Over a thousand luminaries covered the grounds and surrounding neighborhood as we welcomed our community in for a night of holiday cheer.

See some of the highlights from the evening below and be sure to mark your calendars for next year, Wednesday Dec. 6th, our 2017 Luminary Night!


Thousands gathered for live music, crafts, and visits with Santa at 2016 Luminary Night, as seen in this view from the tower looking down at the 1876 Keepers’ House and courtyard.

Continue reading