A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

May 2012 Archives

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May 23, 2012

LAMP Hosts New ArchaeoTours

Posted by: Chuck Meide in Events, In the News, LAMPosts


LAMP has been working hard at developing a new program to share our archaeological discoveries with the public. The new Lost Ships ArchaeoTours program was recently announced in the Jacksonville newspaper, the Florida Times-Union.

From the Times-Union:

Learn more about the lost ships of St. Augustine as the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program hosts Archaeo Tours, a 90-minute tour into parts of the historic light station and maritime archaeology laboratory facilities.

The tours are guided by a lighthouse archaeologist who explores the ships wrecked off the coast of the nation's oldest port. The tours include information on how archaeologists excavate each underwater site as they find artifacts untouched by human hands for centuries.

Information on "Storm Wreck," the program's most recently excavated shipwreck, is also part of the tour as is an insider's look at how these artifacts are conserved.

The tours include a multimedia presentation that dives even deeper underwater to investigate wrecks off the coast of St. Augustine. The historic Keepers' House and the 160-foot-tall lighthouse are open for participants after the tours, as are refreshments.

The Lost Ships Archaeo Tours are held three times per day on Mondays and Fridays. Visit www.staugustinelighthouse.org to review tour times, with others scheduled for groups or large parties with advanced notice. Reservations are required, $48 per ticket, at (904) 829-0745 or www.staugustinelighthouse.org.

For more information, check out the Lost Ships ArchaeoTours page!

St. Augustine Lighthouse Featured in the News

Posted by: Chuck Meide in In the News, LAMPosts

An amusing story that came out in the local press after Al Roker mispronounced the name of our nation's oldest port. The story also happens to feature a number of interviews of tourists and our favorite historical reenactor, James Bullock, that took place here at the Lighthouse.

May 17, 2012

Cannon Treatment Continues

After draining the electrolytic solution it has been soaking in, the iron 4-pounder cannon recovered from the Storm Wreck is exposed for all to see. The solution needs to be periodically changed as it soaks up dissolved salts from the iron gun.

Yesterday our visitors got a special treat, as our Archaeological Conservator Starr Cox lead a team of interns and volunteers in the changing of the water from one of our two cannon vats. These two cannons were brought up by LAMP archaeologists almost one year ago, and have been undergoing treatment ever since. Take a look below the fold to read a bit about what it takes to conserve a 200 year old cannon completely saturated in seawater, and to see some photos from the water change.

Continue reading "Cannon Treatment Continues" »

May 9, 2012

LAMP Boatworks Launches Hull #LMP0009!!

Posted by: Brendan Burke in LAMP Boatworks, LAMPosts

Yesterday morning a brand new vessel slipped into the waters of Salt Run, a Chaisson dory tender built by the LAMP Boatworks. The hull is the ninth project from the Boatworks and is a style of hull that dates to the early 20th century in Swampscott, Massachusetts from the shop of George Chaisson. These popular and stylish 10' tenders were designed as auxiliary boats for larger sailboats or yachts. Their timeless beauty has preserved the hull type and this boat is the second Chaisson built here at the LAMP Boatworks. She has been built as the 2012 LAMP Boatworks drawing boat. Tickets for the boat are available here in the museum gift shop and are $5 each or a bargain deal of 5 for $20. The drawing will take place on December 5th, 2012 at our Luminary Night event. You stand a 1 in a 1000 chance of winning a beautiful little boat worth thousands, so get your chance now and we wish you luck!

Click here to see more pictures LMP0009, the Chaisson Dory Tender!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Launches Hull #LMP0009!!" »

May 4, 2012

Update from the Teaching With Small Boats Conference!

I am sitting on the banks of the Puget Sound this evening, waiting for dinner, and enjoying the beautiful scenery of western Washington state. Under my feet is a pebble beach, a log for my butt, behind me is a well ordered row of woody cabins. In front of me is a mile wide stretch of water about 48 degrees but crystal clear and full of sea lions, otters, salmon, dungeness crabs, and gray whales. On the other side is Whidby Island, framed at times by the even more distant but majestic Olympic Mountains. Rising to over 12000 feet, their snowy crags are a reminder of the youthful vigor of the landscape, the restless Pacific Rim. Eagles chatter and whistle from the giant cedar trees and the lapping of the water are all that meets the ears.

No trip to Seattle would be complete without a shot of the Space Needle, but I thought I'd add the flair of the conference to this picture. Superposed on the Space Needle is the mainmast and rig for the schooner Lavengro, a beautiful 1920s Biloxi lugger now sailing Lake Union.

But that us not why I am here. LAMP sent me here to learn from the best institutions in the country who build wooden boats and train young people in solid math and science skills using a philosophy that 'boats build people', not the other way around. Groups from all over the country are here to share their success stories in programming and it has been an astounding success. How do I measure this success? The 80 or so participants who have participated this weekend have kept a remarkable energy going to blend ideas, come up with new ones, and refine existing concepts of how to make our young people better, smarter, and stronger. While we do many of these things at the Lighthouse Museum with our education programming, we are thinking about making the LAMP Boatworks more of a part of this. It has been a successful part of the museum and deserves to share its skills with a broader group.

Continue reading "Update from the Teaching With Small Boats Conference!" »

Artifact Cleaning Continues in the Laboratory

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMPosts

Volunteer archaeologist Brian McNamara and intern Julie Powell cleaning copper-alloy artifacts that have recently completed electrolysis at the LAMP Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.

Just a quick blog post to let folks know out there that conservation activities are progressing in the LAMP laboratory! We have recently had some iron artifacts, recovered by archaeologists from a colonial site in New Smyrnia, finish electrolysis treatment and final coating, and we have also had a batch of copper-alloy artifacts, from a variety of shipwreck sites, finish their electrolytic treatment. Our volunteers and interns are now physically and chemically cleaning these objects by soaking in vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, and by scrubbing with baking soda. They will eventually be coated with a special finish to help prevent future corrosion. Most of these artifacts are spikes and other ship fasteners from the Steamship and Ballast Pile Wreck Site recovered in 2009, along with a brass belt or strap buckle recovered in 2010 from the late 1700s Storm Wreck.

Stay tuned for more updates! We are gearing up for our Field School and subsequent field season and are planning on lots of blog updates!

Julie cleans a brass belt or strap buckle recovered from the Storm Wreck, which was lost off St. Augustine sometime shortly after 1780.