Category Archives: Education

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 »

Wrecked! Go Behind-the-Scenes with Lighthouse Archaeologists

From now until our Wrecked! Exhibition Grand Opening on May 5th, we will be sharing weekly videos with insights on the new exhibit every Tuesday on Periscope, followed by a re-cap blog post and video every Wednesday. Follow along as we unveil this exciting new exhibit at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum!

Do you know how archaeologists find shipwrecks?

This and many other questions about the science behind underwater archaeology are answered in our new shipwreck exhibit, Wrecked!.

In this week’s sneak peek video, go behind-the-scenes in the new exhibit with Chuck Meide, Director of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), and Olivia McDaniel, Lighthouse Archaeologist.

Video Highlights:

  • 0:58 – When was this shipwreck found?
  • 2:21 – How do archaeologists document shipwrecks?
  • 3:43 – Special “Hello” from an underwater diver!
  • 4:44 – See hanks, iron spikes and bits of sail cloth recovered from this shipwreck.
  • 5:14 – Did you know sailors marked their spoons?
  • 5:50 – How did uniform buttons help solve the puzzle behind this shipwreck?
  • 6:53 – What amazing thing was found inside a cauldron on the shipwreck?
  • 8:08 – Why are there ax marks in the ship’s deck pump?
  • 10:16 – What was it like when this ship ran aground?
  • 11:38 – How many cannons were found on this shipwreck?
  • 13:05 – What was it like when archaeologists recovered the cannon?
  • 13:32 – What clue were archaeologists hoping to find on the ship’s bell?

Wrecked! Preview Video With Exhibit Curators

From now until our Wrecked! Exhibition Grand Opening on May 5th, we will be sharing weekly videos with insights on the new exhibit every Tuesday on Periscope, followed by a re-cap blog post and video every Wednesday. Follow along as we unveil this exciting new exhibit at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum!

This past weekend, something REALLY big happened.

We opened the doors to our newest exhibition, Wrecked!, to share it with the public for the FIRST time.

This “soft opening” is a little scary for us, after six years of excavation and four years of exhibit planning, we are exposing our new Museum baby to the world for the first time.

So far, the reviews have been fantastic! People are really enjoying the artifacts, the interactive games, the insights from Star Waters, and the overall feel of the exhibit.

We know YOU can’t wait to see it too, so we thought we would bring you a little sneak peek with the staff curators of our new exhibit, Division Director of Collections & Interpretation Brenda Swann and Director of Interpretation Paul Zielinski.

Check out the video below (which originally aired in full on Periscope — go follow us there for more videos leading up to the big exhibit launch!) and get your first look inside the completed exhibit.

Video Highlights:

  • 1:35 – Star Waters Interactive Video Game
  • 3:22 – X-Ray Station and Magnetometer Survey Experience
  • 3:50 – Introduction to the Sand Bar
  • 5:20 – Cistern Art Installation
  • 5:48 – Gold Coin Recovered from Shipwreck
  • 6:20 – Shipwreck Cannon and Lead Deck Pump Artifacts
  • 7:11 – Ship’s Bell Artifact
  • 7:54 – Meet Star Waters!
  • 9:16 – Find Out More About Wrecked!

Introducing Star Waters!

Over the next month as we approach the grand opening of our new exhibition, Wrecked!, we will be featuring blog and social media posts from our newest Museum team member, Ms. Star Waters! Star has an integral role in the new exhibition which she will be sharing here and in her total takeover of our social media accounts on May 4th!

Hey guys!

Gotta love those #BeachSelfies!

Wow, is this totally exciting or what? I am so stoked to be part of this new exhibit at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. I mean, have you seen this place? It’s awesome! There’s so much cool history to see here — and not just see, but really experience.

So, speaking of experience, you probably want to know what mine is right?

Well, I’ve been interested in archaeology since I was a little kid. It kinda started when I was with my grandpa walking on a river bank and we found this arrowhead that was half-buried in the ground. We took it down to our local museum and an archaeologist there told us more about Native Americans who made arrowheads like that for weapons and what their life was like.

It was SO COOL to find out how much information you can learn about people just from examining their old stuff.

Did you know there are different kinds of archaeology?

Really, there’s like a million different specialties within archaeology. Like some scientists just focus on agricultural stuff — the origins of plants and how they affect eating habits of different cultures — and some research specific time periods in history.

But the two main categories of archaeology are terrestrial and maritime. Terrestrial archaeology looks at historic sites on land while maritime archaeology focuses on historic sites that are underwater.

Both kinds involve a ton of patience and research, but nautical archaeology comes with lots of other complications because you have to do all the same careful excavation that terrestrial archaeologists do, but you have to do it all under water!

Have you met my friends at the Lighthouse?

As soon as I found out about the nautical archaeology program at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, I HAD to come check it out. After I got my junior dive certification they even let me go out on their research vessel, R/V Roper, and dive with them on this old shipwreck!

Check me out on board the R/V Roper getting ready to dive on a shipwreck!

Man, I can’t tell you how amazing it is. Continue reading

Night Fest Special Guests: Chickens!


DSC_0791The rooster Helios

This year’s Night Fest held Saturday March 5th, was well attended but this year it had some unusual guests. The St. Johns County, Academy Public Middle School 4-H Club brought a number of chickens and a rooster to this year’s event so that students could interact with the public and share their knowledge about this traditional yard bird. Continue reading