Category Archives: Daily Operations

WWII Era Maintenance Garage Restoration

On April 5th, the World War II-era garage here on the light station was raised by professional house movers. As part of restoring and maintaining our historic campus, the building will be converted for use as WWII Coast Guard exhibit space and for the Museum’s café. For years, soil built up around the foundation, causing moisture and termite problems that almost completely destroyed the original structural fabric. In 2008, the Museum completed some internal work to sure-up the back wall and installed a new shingle roof using replica 1940s green asphalt shingles. The 2016 work goes far deeper into the structure and it will be made as good as new by the time it re-opens to the public later this year.

The building will sit upon a new foundation slab, approximately one foot higher than the old foundation. This will prevent soil buildup and ensure the integrity of the structure for years to come. After the new foundation is poured, and utilities are installed, the moving company will lower the building onto its new home. There is a lot going on here at the Lighthouse to create new opportunities for our visitors and members and better house our existing programs. You may have noticed the new maintenance building to the south of the Visitors’ Center and the new Maritime Archaeology and Education Center on the north end of the campus. Much of the construction should be done by the middle of the summer and we look forward to opening the new buildings, exhibits, and labs to our community and patrons. Follow our activity here on the blog, on Facebook, and by visiting with us here in beautiful St. Augustine!

Click below to see the video of the raising of the WWII-era Maintenance Garage!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyGYWJIFTSE&feature=youtu.be 

Brendan Burke joined the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in 2007 as an archaeologist for the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program. He holds a graduate degree in Anthropology from The College of William & Mary.

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.

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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

9 Frequently Asked Questions at the Top of the Lighthouse

When you visit us here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, you will most likely climb to the top of our famous Lighthouse to enjoy the breathtaking views of our beautiful town. Tourists and locals alike all seem to have the same several questions they ask when they get to the top of the Lighthouse.

1. “What are those giant white tents?”

We know what you’re thinking, no it’s not a circus or fair of any sort. It may look a little different from an aerial view but is in fact the St. Augustine Amphitheater!

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2. “How many stairs did I just climb?”

This question is usually asked with a lot of huffing and puffing involved. There are 219 stairs from the base of the tower to the top with eight landing areas to rest in between. It may sound like a lot, but we promise it’s not that bad and it is totally worth the view!

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3. “How tall is this thing?”

The tower stands tall at 165 feet from the ground. It is 95 feet taller than the Old Spanish Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is the 5th tallest in Florida and is also much wider than most lighthouses. For guests, the highest point you can reach is the gallery deck, which is 140 feet above the ground. Continue reading

Making an Exhibit: Exclusive Sneak Peek!

What does it take to build a brand new museum exhibit? Over the next few months, we’re going to give you exclusive access behind the scenes as our team works together to create Wrecked! a new experience coming to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in May 2016.

Read previous posts in the series:

» “Boxes & Beginnings”
» “Moving Ain’t Easy”
» “New Reflections”

Do you want to see something cool?

Psst. Hey you! Yeah, you!

Come close to the screen. I have a secret to share.

All week, our fantastic team of installation experts, creative folks, painters, and designers have been on site unpacking and mounting all of the imaginative pieces that will make up the backbone of our new exhibit.

Are you ready?

Below are the very first images of Wrecked! — which won’t be open to the public for a few more weeks (we still need to add in those all-important shipwreck artifacts and some extra-exciting interactive pieces).

But for now, enjoy this exclusive look at the newest addition to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum!

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Start your Wrecked! journey on the first floor of the Keepers’ House with this 1:1 scale print of our shipwreck site map with insights into the history behind this American Revolutionary War-era wreck.
Conduct your own magnetometer search of this ocean grid in one of the many hands-on spaces in this new exhibit.
Conduct your own magnetometer search of this ocean grid in one of the many hands-on spaces in this new exhibit. (Notice anything familiar about the stripes on this table?)

Continue reading

Making an Exhibit: New Reflections

What does it take to build a brand new museum exhibit? Over the next few months, we’re going to give you exclusive access behind the scenes as our team works together to create Wrecked! a new experience coming to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in May 2016.

Read previous posts in the series:

» “Boxes & Beginnings”
» “Moving Ain’t Easy”

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

– John Wooden

If you’ve visited our Light Station in the past, you know that we are actually separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a small barrier island, a gorgeous little lagoon of sorts (Salt Run), and a two-lane road.

But guess what? For our new exhibit we’re bringing the ocean INSIDE.

Okay, maybe not literally. Bringing water inside our 1876 Keepers’ House (which is on the National Register of Historic Places) would be a very bad idea.

However, our exhibit designers Architecture is Fun are definitely bringing some salty H20 vibes into the Keepers’ House with a few little details. These tiny bits and pieces will go a long way toward illustrating the excitement as well as the difficulties that come with underwater archaeology.

We want you to leave this new exhibition feeling like you just broke the surface of the Atlantic after diving on your first shipwreck.

Can you “sea” the reflections?

On crystal clear mornings at sea aboard our archaeological research vessel, R/V Roper, the ocean’s surface is often so calm and flat it looks like a glassy mirror. As our divers slip into the water, ripples echo across the surface, turning bending the reflections of our archaeology crew into fun house characters.

To recreate that experience on a slightly hyperbolic level, Sharon and Peter Exley found this eye-catching wallpaper comprised of tiny reflective circles layered over and over each other like those tiny little fun house mirrors.

Let’s just say, this isn’t your Grandma’s style of wallpaper (although it would really have kicked her guest bathroom up a notch). 

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“Sea”-ing things in a new light

As soon as you step into the south side of the Keepers’ House to begin your Wrecked! exhibition experience, make sure you stop and look up! Continue reading