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


A blog by Kathleen McCormick, Director of Museum Conservation at the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

February 3, 2012

Get behind the scenes...

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Jacksonville.com published a nice piece about our behind the scenes tours here at the Museum. If you haven't take one of the tours, they are well worth it. See how the museum works, how we are learning about our past from artifacts buried in the seafloor, and learn about the many things which go on behind the veil to keep our history alive and exciting. Even if you have visited the lighthouse before, or recently, come back for this experience. Visit our webpage too, for more information on how to get involved, for more on our other tours and opportunities, and learn how to contribute to our museum. Read on for more information!

CLICK HERE for the link.

Many thanks to Dan Scanlan for this nice article!

March 31, 2008

04/15/08 Public Meeting for National Maritime Heritage Area

Posted by: Kathy Fleming

National Maritime Heritage Area Workshop


Please join us for a National Heritage Area Feasibility Workshop
(Feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:30 pm until 5:00 pm
GTM NERR Environmental Education Center
505 Guana River Road
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32080

RSVP requested by April 11, 2008
Contact Pam Troll at 904-829-0745, ext 224 or

February 19, 2008

Can You Help Grow our Community Service at the Lighthouse and LAMP?

Posted by: Kathy Fleming

The Lighthouse would love to have you as a member of our Founding Lights Family. You can make a difference.

It takes a great many of us working together to keep the Light Station strong. It takes all our support to keep the lighthouse preserve and programs going.

Today, we are about $25,000 short of having $350,000 dollars in our small, but growing endowment fund. Why is $350,000 the magic number? Well, when we hit $350,000, then we can apply for another $250,000 from the State of Florida. And that will help us a great deal. It makes us more secure, more stable in a world where changes happen and surprises hit us with new things to repair. It makes us more able to continue wonderful community services like those so many enjoy.

Our Founding Lights Campaign helps preserve and keep alive our story for generations. Fifty percent of every Founding Lights pledge becomes part of the endowment. This money is not ever spent, but and stablity and generates interest that supports programs and our restoration efforts. The remaining funds are put to good use right away.

Won't you help protect the lighthouse? Won't you help save our maritime heritage?

Please join us as a Founding Light!

The Levels Founding Lights: $1,000 per year for five years - Leadership level Legacy Circle: $500 per year for five years - Recognition in a special annual ceremony here and up. Heritage Club: $250 per year for five years Guardians: $100 per year for five years
Find a Pledge Form at this link: http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com/foundinglights.php.

Or call us here at the Lighthouse 904 829-0745.

Kathy Fleming
Executive Director

April 2, 2007

Good Neighbors...

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

There's no better time of year than now to watch the view from the top of our Lighthouse. From my station above the trees I can see the ever-changing ocean, the trees in bloom and, best of all, the birds returning to build nests across the street at the Alligator Farm. The wood stork are already building homes in the treetops above the swamp and visit our backyard to gather nesting material and generally hang out, sometimes flying near enough to the tower that we get close-up views that are impossible from the ground.

Continue reading "Good Neighbors..." »

March 23, 2007


Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

It could have been a disaster. The morning of our biggest event of the year the man in charge of Lighthouse Festival, our Director of Operations, was kept home by a gastro-virus. Our LAMP staff was less than a week away from co-hosting a large Marine Archaeology Symposium, we were in the process of installing the first phase of what will become a major exhibit on the history of the St. Augustine shrimp industry, a flu bug was wreaking havoc on the staff, prep for a major reception on the grounds was in full swing, our Education Director will be leaving today for a great new opportunity and the everyday problems and crises involved in running a historic site seemed to be mounting faster than we could count them.

Continue reading "A-Team" »

March 14, 2007

Hope for the future of History

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

This morning a few of us went to Switzerland Point Middle School to help judge entries for the first annual History Fair. We were blown away by the number of first-rate entries and had a delightful time interviewing the participants. We have a good supply of bright, creative middle-schoolers in our county and some very talented teachers to guide them. That's good to know.

Continue reading "Hope for the future of History" »

March 8, 2007

Questions, questions...

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

Those of us fortunate enough to spend time at the top of the tower are used to answering certain questions on a regular basis:
"Why are you so far from the water?"
(See our website, http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com for the answer)
Is the place really haunted?
(If you think it is, then it is. If you think not, then it isn't...we have no proof either way).
The one that always gets me, though, is: "Do they make you stay up here all day?!?!?.

Continue reading "Questions, questions..." »

March 1, 2007

History or grave-robbery?

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

So James Cameron, not content with picking the bones of the Titanic victims, has decided to move on to grave-robbing and exploitation at a higher level. This time, according to carefully-timed news reports and interviews, he's found the tomb of Jesus. How convenient that it also contained the bones of Mary Magdalen, Mary the Mother, and a son of Jesus...and Jimmy Hoffa, for all I know. Now Cameron can cover all the bases: "History", Religion and a "Da Vinci Code" connection. That guy sure does know how to make money. If only he'd admit he's just a money-grubbing film maker instead of pretending to be a producer of "Historical documentaries", I'd be less disdainful. Having one archaeologist make headline-grabbing claims does not constitute historical accuracy.

Continue reading "History or grave-robbery?" »

February 16, 2007

What do we save?

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

A group of us have been meeting to discuss formation of a county-wide (St. Johns, Florida) oral history program. In the face of exploding development we have a great need to preserve as much of our history as possible before more of the important places in our community, as well as the people who can tell the stories of those places, are gone forever.

Continue reading "What do we save?" »

February 14, 2007

Purging Binges

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

We're a small place. We are in a constant state of file-purging, trying to keep the important stuff but avoid hoarding interesting but essentially irrelevant items. Once in a while we run across things in our piles of files that don't belong there but are too good to throw away. I hereby entrust a couple of them them to you, gentle blog-sloggers:

In a magazine article regarding early patent applications for life-saving devices we find my two favorites; a "Life-saving Hat" that inflates and becomes a flotation device, but with the obvious drawback of keeping itself out of the water while the unfortunate wearer hangs (and drowns)beneath it, and the better-placed but similarly lethal "Life-Saving Collar".That one seems like a good idea, I'm sure, until it inflates, strangling the wearer. To be fair, it does prevent drowning. Nowhere in the description is it guaranteed to prevent strangulation.
Oh... let's not forget the early inflatable suits. They kept the shipwrecked wearer afloat but were as likely to float the victim head-up as bottom-up. That's a 50-50 chance of surviving, though...much better than the floating hat. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

February 13, 2007


Posted by: Kathleen McCormick

In which we meet our Director of Conservation and take a stab at explaining just what it is she does…and explode the ubiquitous “vats of acid” myth.

The “Conservation” title, of course, is misleading. A good deal of what we all do falls under that convenient “Other Duties as Assigned” portion of the job description. Whoever invented that should have a special place in Heaven along with the angel who invented that highly entertaining “call waiting” music. I came here from 12 years as a conservator, educator, etc. at the Henry Ford Museum, near my hometown of Detroit. I loved my job at theford but felt a need to move to a warmer place. St. Augustine has always been one of my favo
rite cities and I was fortunate enough to land here.
Explaining what I do has always been difficult. Once I was invited to a Career Day at an elementary school. I prepared a talk on museum conservation and packed some visual aids then showed up at the auditorium door ready to rivet my young audience with the glamorous world of museum studies. The teacher showed me to my table, which was inexplicably filled with rows of tiny pine seedlings. The teacher informed me that she had arranged to have the little trees as gifts from me to the children and went on to introduce me as the conservator who was going to tell them all about taking care of the environment. Apparently she hadn’t read the job description I had sent. It is the fate of an Objects Conservator to be frequently misunderstood. We get used to it.

Continue reading "BLINKY " »