Category Archives: Education

Summer Camp 2017

Did you know there are camps at the Lighthouse? We offer camps three times per year which follow the St. Johns County Schools’ calendar during summer, winter, and spring breaks. Our camps also reach out to underserved and at-risk populations through scholarships and donations from our generous supporters. Scholarships and donations allow students to attend our camps who have high academic achievement and potential but do not have the economic means to attend. This year we also partnered with First Coast Blessings in a Backpack to ensure those students who need it would receive nutritional meals when they are not at camp. See below for more information.

Beginning May 30th, campers survived a shipwreck on Anastasia Island, immersed themselves in local folkways, tried their hand at archaeological conservation, became a tourist, and kept our light going. Whew! Each week has a different theme that brings STEAM-based learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics) and fun to campers. Guest Speakers, field trips, science experiments, crafts, and activities bring each theme to life. Of course, there is the opportunity to climb the tower and explore our exhibits, too.

Some questions we asked the campers to consider during their first week for the theme, Shipwreck Survival:
• What is the most important thing to do when stranded?
• Would you create shelter, make fire, find water or scavenge for supplies first?

Staying dry and lessening your exposure to the elements is priority number one. Heat stroke or hypothermia would cause problems that could prevent you from being able to tackle those other necessities for survival. Other IFS (Important For Survival) skills were learned and practiced by campers to ensure the highest number of survivors possible, which for us was 100% just as expected!

Can you name all the cultural influences that shaped St. Augustine before and after its founding in 1565? Our second week aimed to do just that by inviting community members and staff to share with campers their heritage and traditions from the past. Cuban foodways, Greek culture, and Seminole clothing design are just a few of the customs with which the campers engaged.

Some questions that arose as we learned:
• Is it hard to find the queen bee in a group of bees?
• Does using an atlatl really make a difference?
• Can I navigate from point A to point B?
The answers that we found to those questions:
• Very hard!
• Yes it really does make a difference!
• Not when it is raining unfortunately.

What do eggs and vinegar have to do with shipwreck conservation? The third week focused on the methods our Maritime Archaeological Conservationists use to process artifacts. Topics included: concretions, cleaning artifacts, preservation, casting, artifact cell absorption of salt water, non-Newtonian fluids, and the meaning of maritime archaeology. ***TRY AT HOME*** Putting an egg into vinegar for 24-36 hours removes the calcium from the shell and the outer membrane becomes “rubber-like”, while the yolk inside remains unscathed. Conservationists may use vinegar to remove the calcium in a concretion that is on a soft metal, like a coin. The concretion can be removed without scratching the metal underneath. Give the egg a try at home but be careful because the membrane can break easily. A highlight for campers was performing emergency conservation triage.
What is a spectroscope? Our campers not only learned what one is, but they made one, too. The last week of camp concentrated on the Science of Light as it relates to our Fresnel lens in the tower. Two of the topics were reflection/refraction and magnification. Our man-made lens does all three, but can you think of another natural resource that does this too? Water! A highlight for this week was seeing how a kerosene lantern worked. DID YOU KNOW? The Lighthouse went from oil to kerosene in 1885.

Are you curious about unanswered questions? Well, you know the answer to that! Come join us at the Lighthouse, visit our website www.staugustinelighthouse.org, or register for a camp to learn more. Additionally, please visit the below links to learn more about the wonderful mission of First Coast Blessings in a Backpack who helped us to make a difference this year in over half of our campers’ lives.

https://www.firstcoastblessingsinabackpack.com/home.html
https://www.facebook.com/FirstCoastBlessings/

Enlightened: Episode 1, Part 3

Join us in this edition of Enlightened! as we continue our look into the history and science behind the Fresnel lens. In this installment, we will talk a little more about French scientist Augustin Fresnel and how his incredible invention shaped lighthouses forever!

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for future episodes of Enlightened!, a Nation’s Oldest Port educational program. 

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.

We’re Still Here: Hurricanes
and St. Augustine

It’s been about a month now since Hurricane Matthew took a swipe at St. Augustine and the rest of Florida’s East Coast before basically tracking along the shoreline up to North Carolina and finally heading out to sea. Low-lying residential areas, especially along the beaches and inland waterways, were hit hard with floodwaters and many downed trees and power lines. Downtown St. Augustine suffered flooding as well.

The Hurricane and the Lighthouse

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime windowsMuseum, despite our location on Anastasia Island, weathered the storm well. When the U.S. Lighthouse Board picked the location for this Lighthouse to replace the old lighthouse that was threatened by beach erosion, they chose well. No floodwaters reached the Lighthouse or Keepers’ House. The only physical damage, besides several downed trees, were a few shingles missing from the roof of the Keepers’ House and a set of windows blown out of the Lighthouse and later found in a nearby tree. Continue reading

State of the Museum: Membership Meeting

Last night we were pleased to present some updates on all of the exciting things happening at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum at our annual State of the Museum Membership Meeting. membermeeting For those who were unable to attend the meeting, we have included a few highlights below from the night’s presenters, Executive Director Kathy A. Fleming and Division Director for Maritime Archaeology Chuck Meide.

Museum Highlights:

  • As of last night’s meeting, we now have 3,994 member households — up from 1,267 last year.
  • Last year over 206,000 people visited the Museum including over 15,000 from St. Johns County and another 7,000 from Duval County.
  • The final phase of our capital campaign has begun, bringing us closer to our restoration goals that will help honor the World War II history of the Light Station.
  • We are just $200,000 shy of completing the campaign, with $2.4 million already raised to date.
  • The capital campaign has helped to cover critical restoration projects on the tower, Keepers’ House, and Fresnel lens as well as our newest exhibitions, At Home with the Harns and Wrecked!.
  • This year, the Museum will begin construction on the new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center at the Light Station. This new 2,500 sqft facility will provide much needed space for public education programs and maritime research, as well as new experiences for our visitors so that they can see archaeology up close!
  • Accompanying that effort will be the restoration of our 1936 Jeep garage (used as a Jeep maintenance facility during WWII for beach patrol) and the 1941 U.S. Coast Guard Barracks, in which five Coasties lived while they kept a 24-hour watch over the Lighthouse. The restoration project is expected to be completed in the late winter of 2017.
  • Donations to this campaign will help honor those who served to protect our nation while German spies landed on local beaches and U-boats patrolled American shores.
  • Gifts of $2,500 or more over five years ($500 a year) will entitle the donor to a prestigious spot on our donor wall in the new building, tying your family’s legacy to the Light Station forever.
  • We are so close to launching these huge milestone projects for the Museum, donations of all sizes WILL make a difference to completing this campaign.

Maritime archaeology highlights:

  • Another successful field season for our team of Lighthouse archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) yielded more artifacts and an even greater need for the new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center.
  • LAMP completed 22 days of diving on the Anniversary Wreck, believed to date to the late 1700s.
  • In that time, LAMP archaeologists, students, and volunteers safely completed 22 dives for 276 hours, 40 minutes bottom time, which averages to 12.58 average hrs. bottom time/day.
  • LAMP had a record number of students, 12, in the July 2016 Field School, along with another five student supervisors. We had volunteers and interns from as far away as the Netherlands and India, visiting from schools across the U.S. and the world, including Oxford University and the University of Montreal.
  • LAMP has discovered three historic shipwrecks since July 2015.
  • We are closely following events related to the discovery of a 16th-century French shipwreck off Cape Canaveral. This wreck is believed to be the Trinite, the flagship of Jean Ribault’s lost French Fleet of 1565. Chuck will be travelling to Paris, France, next week where French government archaeologists and state officials will be discussing the possible future investigation of this important shipwreck site.
  • Pledge your support for maritime research and education today »