Category Archives: Events

December 4: Luminary Night welcomes the community to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum during the holiday season

Luminary Night is an annual tradition hosted by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. From 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 4, the Museum grounds will open for an evening community celebration for all ages.

More than 2,000 luminaries are displayed throughout the grounds and on the streets surrounding this historic landmark, creating a magical holiday experience. Lights and holiday décor also adorn the 1876 Keepers’ House and other historic buildings on the property. In addition, 14 Christmas trees are decorated in different themes, with the Nautical tree in the upstairs gallery of the Keepers’ House featuring nautical-themed ornaments donated by people all over the country.

For a special treat, guests can climb the tower for sparkling views of Nights of Lights from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The event also features visits and photos with Santa, children’s activities and holiday crafts, yuletide refreshments and live performances by community groups. In addition, photo opportunities will be available with characters from Costumers With a Cause throughout the evening.

Holiday performances will be performed by the St. Augustine Youth Chorus, St. Johns County Center for the Arts Chorus and Guitar Ensemble, the Limelight Theatre Show Choir, the Heather Loveland Dance Academy, and the Glad Melody Gang.

St. Augustine Seafood Company will present a check to the Museum at 7 p.m. during the event, with funds raised from the sale of Lighthouse Lemonade.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support of St. Augustine Seafood Company,” said Museum Executive Director Kathy Fleming. “We appreciate this important partnership as we continue to preserve maritime history and keep the light shining.”

The winner of the Heritage Boatworks drawing for the handcrafted Penobscot 13 will take place at 8:30 p.m. during the event.

Luminary Night is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of non-perishable food items which will be donated to St. Francis Housing Crisis Center and Port in the Storm Homeless Youth Center.

Holiday-themed refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the evening. All monetary proceeds will continue the work of the nonprofit Museum’s mission.

For more details about the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, visit staugustinelighthouse.org or call 904-829-0745. Stay updated on social media at facebook.com/staugustinelighthouse, Instagram.com/stauglighthouse, and twitter.com/firstlighthouse.

 

ABOUT THE ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE & MARITIME MUSEUM:

A pivotal navigation tool and unique landmark of St. Augustine for 145 years, the St. Augustine Light Station is host to centuries of history in the Nation’s Oldest Port®. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is on a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port® as symbolized by our working lighthouse. We are the parent organization to the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. (StAugustineLighthouse.org)

 

About the American Alliance of Museums:

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. As the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field, accreditation signifies excellence and credibility. Accreditation helps to ensure the integrity and accessibility of museum collections, and reinforces the education and public service roles of museums and promote good governance practices and ethical behavior. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. (www.aam-us.org).

 

 

 

Veterans Receive Free Admission on Veterans Day

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum will offer FREE admission for US Military Veterans on Veterans Day; Monday, November 11. Museum hours are 9 AM to 6 PM.

Immediate family members of Veterans will receive 10 percent off admission. Free admission is also available for active military and their immediate family on Veterans Day and all year long.

St. Johns County Residents pay once and can visit for a full calendar year, or can join us as a Museum Member for even deeper discounts around town, in the gift shop, and at other attractions in Florida.

 MUSEUM ACTIVITIES

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is a nonprofit, mission-centered museum that loves to tell stories about the sea and conducts underwater research through the Lighthouse Archaeology Maritime Program (LAMP).

Guests can step up 219 steps to the top of the 165-foot tower for a breathtaking view of historic downtown St. Augustine and the beaches. But there is much more to do after the climb. Visitors can also discover St. Augustine’s rich maritime heritage on site. Take a walk through the maritime hammock through nature trails. Explore exhibits in the restored 1876 Keepers’ House and discover shipwreck finds made in local waters by our scientists.

The Light Station was a defensive post in WWII, and half the site is restored to that era. Visit WWII US Coast Guard Coastal Lookout Building, where Coasties lived and stood watch atop the tower, marking each ship’s location and keeping a watchful eye out for German U-boats.

The Museum has received a small matching grant from the State of Florida Division of Historical Resources to create an exhibition that tells the story of the war through local eyes. We are accepting donations to help the exhibit and preservation of our WWII site. The WWII theme continues in the Jeep Maintenance Garage, which houses the Tin Pickle Café.

 

 EXHIBITS TO SEE AFTER THE CLIMB

  • Wrecked! The Story of a Revolutionary War Shipwreck – Artifacts and archaeological exhibits are on view in part of the Keepers’ House. These include Redcoat buttons, personal items and the second oldest British carronade discovered in the world, according to the Tower of London.
  • At Home with the Harns: In a Post-Civil War Household – tells the story of William and Kate Harn and their large family in the years after he retired as a Brevet Major in the Union Army. Harn was the lighthouse keeper for two decades.
  • Legends of the Light: Seaside Stories from the Past, is housed throughout the tower and in the Maritime Archaeology Center. Learn fun stories of ships, lighthouses and keepers. Play in the miniature lighthouse. See a View from the Top video in the Lastinger Family Gallery.
  • Art from the Collection of the US Coast Guard, in the WWII Coastal Lookout Building. See the service provided to America by our beloved coastal guardians told through veterans’ paintings.
  • Heritage Boatworks: Building on Florida’s Maritime Heritage Northeast Florida, outside in the Maritime Heritage Park. Museum volunteers build boats from archival plans.
  • Shrimping: Foundation of a Global Enterprise – Augustine families changed the foodways of the world through the local fishing and boat building industry. See their story in the Anastasia Gallery.

OTHER THINGS TO DO

 Nation’s Oldest Port Demos: Every 30 minutes on the hour from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM

  • Maritime Hammock Nature Trails & Scavenger Hunt
  • The Charles G Cox Archaeology Lab, PGA Viewing Area lets you interact with shipwreck conservators at work.
  • The Lastinger Family Shipyard Playground, and the Wiles Family Hands-on Children’s Activity Area.

Hours are 9 AM to 6 PM daily. Regular admission is $12.95 for adults; $10.95 for seniors and children under 12; free for children less than 44 inches tall; and discounts for St. Johns County residents.

For more details about the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, visit staugustinelighthouse.org or call 904-829-0745. Stay updated on social media at facebook.com/staugustinelighthouse, Instagram.com/stauglighthouse, and twitter.com/firstlighthouse.

 

Aug. 17-18: International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend

St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society will be on site with HAM Radios

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum will join 400+ lighthouses from throughout the world for International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) from August 17-18, with support from members of the St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society (SAARS) on the grounds of the nonprofit Museum throughout the weekend.

Members of SAARS will operate the HAM radios and communicate with lighthouses all over the globe. The weekend festivities will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Fridayand run continuously until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Most members of SAARS will rotate shifts through the entire 48 hours.

The St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society will return to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum this year for International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.

“We always enjoy participating in this worldwide event,” said Executive Director Kathy A. Fleming. “It brings together so many groups of people who are passionate about the history and care of our historic lighthouses. We appreciate all the volunteers from the St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society who help us connect with the world and share the story of our Lighthouse.”

This annual event began in 1998 as a way for lighthouses, lightships and maritime beacons to connect with each other via amateur radio and advocate for the preservation of these historic structures. Major amateur radio organizations such as the Radio Society of Great Britain, the Amateur Radio League of America and the Wireless Institute of Australia support and promote this event.

A tent will be set up in front of the St. Augustine Lighthouse to serve as ILLW headquarters. During regular visiting hours, from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Museum guests are welcome to visit the tent to listen and watch as SAARS communicates with other participants around the globe.

Marking its 22nd anniversary this year, the event attracts over 500 lighthouse entries located in over 40 countries. Today, it is one of the most popular international amateur radio events in the world.

For more details about the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, visit staugustinelighthouse.org or call 904-829-0745. Stay updated on social media at facebook.com/staugustinelighthouse, Instagram.com/stauglighthouse, and twitter.com/firstlighthouse

National Lighthouse Day celebrated August 7 at St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

Alexander Hamilton was first Supervisor of all U.S. lighthouses

Long before the days of GPS, lighthouses played an integral role in keeping sailors safe on the water. There was no Siri to tell them where to go, so they simply had to fully rely on their wits … and lighthouses.

The first St. Augustine Lighthouse, called the Spanish Watchtower, which become Florida’s first lighthouse in 1824. This tower fell into the ocean in 1880, six years after the current St. Augustine Lighthouse was completed in 1874.

On August 7, 1789, the U.S. Congress recognized the importance of Lighthouses and passed the Act for the Establishment and Support of Lighthouses, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers. This act officially put lighthouses under federal control, attempting to make navigation for sailors more efficient and safer.

The act specified that it was “the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury” to oversee that the act’s provisions be carried out. This included maintenance of all lighthouses and aids to navigation, as well as overseeing construction of the mandated lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay. 

Guests are shown on the observation deck at the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. On National Lighthouse Day and every day of the week, visitors can climb all 219 steps to take in amazing views of St. Augustine, Florida. Guests also can learn about maritime history in multiple exhibits on site.

Alexander Hamilton became the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789, a little over a month after the Lighthouse Act was passed. Thus, Secretary Hamilton oversaw the transition of responsibility for all existing lighthouses (and other aids to navigation) from the various states and municipalities to the federal government. 

Two hundred years later, The United States Lighthouse Society petitioned for August 7, 1989, to be deemed National Lighthouse Day, in honor of the day that Congress signed the Act. This petition only deemed National Lighthouse Day to be a holiday for that specific year.

Then, on August 7, 2013, the Senate passed a resolution stating that every August 7th be declared National Lighthouse Day. Although not officially law, the recognition of August 7th as National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day continues with the government and its agencies, including the National Park Service, which maintains a number of historic lighthouses across the country.

The Junior Service of St. Augustine saved the 1876 Keepers’ House, renovating it and creating a maritime museum, and then asked the US government for the St. Augustine Lighthouse tower and the original Fresnel lens. The lens had been shot by a vandal’s bullet, damaging 19 prisms in the beehive structure. The US Coast Guard shut down the lens in 1991 and replaced it with a modern airport beacon, but the League quickly rose to this challenge. The keepers’ house restoration was finished in 1990, and in 1991, the League signed a lease with the U.S. Coast Guard and opened part time to the public.

“Thanks to the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, the St. Augustine Light Station was saved and a maritime museum was created,” said Kathy Fleming, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

“We are nonprofit, mission-centered, and community connected. Our donors and members continue to help us save maritime history and keep the light shining.”

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum will celebrate National Lighthouse Day on August 7. Learn the history of Florida’s first lighthouse in exhibits at the nonprofit Museum and participate in the Nation’s Oldest Port Demos, interactive demonstrations offered daily every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days each week, with hours changing to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. after Labor Day.

Check out the Conservation Lab on your next visit to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, which working conservators are preserving historic artifacts.

The 145th anniversary of the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse will be celebrated on October 15, 2019. This second tower was built from 1871-1874, and the first order Fresnel lens was lit on October 15, 1874. Prior to this tower, the Spanish Watchtower was named Florida’s first lighthouse in 1824 by the U.S. government. A wooden watchtower was first built at the site in the 1560s, followed by the Spanish Watchtower, which stood at 70 feet high and was made of coquina, like the Castillo de San Marcos. That coquina came from the quarry on Anastasia Island.

Visit staugustinelighthouse.org for more details.

ABOUT THE ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE & MARITIME MUSEUM:

A pivotal navigation tool and unique landmark of St. Augustine for over 140 years, the St. Augustine Light Station is host to centuries of history in the Nation’s Oldest Port®. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is on a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port® as symbolized by our working lighthouse. We are the parent organization to the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. (StAugustineLighthouse.org)

About the American Alliance of Museums:

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. As the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field, accreditation signifies excellence and credibility. Accreditation helps to ensure the integrity and accessibility of museum collections,  and reinforces the education and public service roles of museums and promote good governance practices and ethical behavior. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. (www.aam-us.org)

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum selected as beneficiary of Winn Dixie Community Bag Program

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum celebrates selection as a Winn Dixie Community Bag Program Beneficiary in St. Augustine Beach, Florida. The nonprofit Museum has been selected as a beneficiary of the Community Bag Program for the month of July 2019.

The Winn Dixie Community Bag Program, which launched in February 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum was selected as the July beneficiary of the program by store leadership at the Winn Dixie located at 3905 A1A South, at St. Augustine Beach.

The Museum will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at this location during July, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.

“Everything we do at the Museum saves our maritime past,” said Kathy Fleming, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. “The Winn Dixie Community Bag program will help us continue our mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port.”

At the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, climb 219 steps to the top of the 165-foot tower for a breathtaking view of historic downtown St. Augustine, the beaches, and the nation’s oldest port.  Discover St. Augustine’s rich maritime history at the site of Florida’s first lighthouse. Explore exhibits in the restored Keepers’ House about the lives of the Lighthouse keepers and their families, and shipwreck discoveries made off the coast of St. Augustine.

Also on site, the WWII US Coast Guard Coastal Lookout Quarters, Nation’s Oldest Port demos, a Maritime Hammock Scavenger Hunt, PGA Viewing Window in the Conservation Lab, and a View from the Top video (for those who don’t climb the Lighthouse) in the Maritime Education Center. For little ones: A shipyard playground and hands-on activities throughout the exhibits and grounds. Don’t forget to shop in the museum store for unique lighthouse and maritime gifts.

Learn more about our Museum by visiting staugustinelighthouse.org. For more information on the Community Bag Program, visit seg.bags4mycause.com.

ABOUT THE ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE & MARITIME MUSEUM:

A defensive and navigation tool and landmark of St. Augustine for 145 years, the St. Augustine Light Station watches over the waters of the Nation’s Oldest Port®. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, Inc. is on a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port® as symbolized by our working lighthouse. We are the parent organization to the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. (StAugustineLighthouse.org)

ABOUT THE AMERICAN ALLIANCE OF MUSEUMS:

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. As the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field, accreditation signifies excellence and credibility. Accreditation helps to ensure the integrity and accessibility of museum collections,  and reinforces the education and public service roles of museums and promote good governance practices and ethical behavior. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. (www.aam-us.org)