Category Archives: Events

Unique research, conservation and visitor lab space opens at St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

Museum opens new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center as part of the progress of the Maritime Heritage Park

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – On Thursday, September 28th the Museum celebrated a project twenty years in the making with the opening of a new building that houses an education and exhibit space as well as conservation labs, research library, an x-ray room and offices. Over one hundred people including elected officials, the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Museum members and longtime supporters attended the celebration.

“I began working on the restoration of the Keepers’ House through my involvement in the Junior Service League in the early ‘80s so it is truly a dream come true to see the archaeology and education center open,” said Judy Burnett Albright, a longtime volunteer, board member and now Trustee Emeritus. “Here, we are saving history, teaching children and providing new opportunities to locals and visitors to learn about our shared connection to the ocean all while we keep the light shining. I couldn’t be prouder to be a small part of this exciting project that is making a difference in our community!”

The new facility is unique to northeast Florida and has many notable features. Keeping the visitor in mind in the design process, the set-up of the lab spaces provide a walk-thru viewing room with a TV to help zoom in on an important detailed process that may be occurring. There is also a section of a ship’s portholes below the viewing window for a children’s view into the labs. The entire process of conservation from start to finish is on show here and staff anticipates people growing attached to a particular object undergoing conservation efforts and making repeat return trips to check on the status of an important object.

The new exhibition, Legends of the Light, is installed partially in the new building’s education space and partially in the Lighthouse tower. As one climbs the 219 steps to the top, information-packed but still fun and playful interpretive panels dot the landings as the visitor ascends. For those who cannot or choose not to climb the tower, there are plenty of hands-on activities and visuals for children and adults alike in the new building’s exhibit portion, including a Lighthouse tower playhouse and a fourth-order Fresnel lens.
“We’ve had such an outpouring of support from the community on this project,” said Kathy Fleming, Executive Director. “This new building with its lab spaces and new exhibition space is a very tangible addition to our Museum. I think that helped make it a more exciting project to get behind. We’re so thankful to those who’ve helped us along the way as we celebrate this accomplishment together because in the end, every person, every dollar and every hour donated helped us get to this point.”

Although all Museum members were invited to the event due to each member having some involvement in the fundraising process, there were some extremely generous donors recognized both at the event and with naming plaques within the new building including The Lastinger Family Foundation, Charles G. Cox, Gerald and Janet Carlisle, Judy Burnett Albright, Joe and Margaret Finnegan, Junior Service League of St. Augustine, Dr. Ron Dixon and PGA Tour, Inc.

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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 PortSM. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)(3) non-profit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is on a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest PortSM 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.

Lighthouse To Host Annual Night Fest Saturday March 4th

In conjunction with the Junior Service League’s Lighthouse 5K & Fun Run, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum will be open free to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with crafts, food, and live music.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – Continuing the long partnership between the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum and the Junior Service League of St. Augustine (JSL), the Museum will host its annual Night Fest celebration on Saturday, March 4th in conjunction with the Lighthouse 5K & Fun Run. Night Fest commemorates the Lighthouse’s community legacy and is sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charities, Herbie Wiles Insurance, and Harbor Community Bank.

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The 1876 Keepers’ House after a suspicious fire in 1970, before restorations began.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum will open free to the public beginning at 4:00 p.m. The JSL’s Lighthouse 5K race will begin at 4:30 p.m. and the Fun Run will begin at 5:30 p.m. Visitors are invited to explore the various exhibits in the Keepers’ House, and climb the 219 steps to the top of the Lighthouse tower for a spectacular sunset view of St. Augustine. During the event there will be arts and crafts available for children, live music, and other museum activities. Hot dogs, sodas, beer, and other refreshments will also be available for purchase.

In the 1980’s the Junior Service League led a massive community effort to restore the St. Augustine Light Station after a suspicious fire and years of neglect left the grounds in disrepair. The restoration of the Keepers’ House was completed in 1990 and the Lighthouse reopened in 1991. The Junior Service League raised over $1.2 million ($2.4 million in today’s dollars) for the renovations, and continued to work to save the Lighthouse’s original 1874 first order Fresnel lens, which was relit in 1993 during the first Lighthouse festival.

DSC_0866The Museum remains dedicated to the community that brought it back to life, providing educational programs and seasonal camps for local students. In 2016, approximately 50% of camp participants were at-risk youth who received scholarships to attend. To further improve the educational programs at the Lighthouse, a brand new education and research center is being built and is projected to open in the fall of 2017.

In addition to the Museum’s education and research expansion, the Lighthouse has plans to for new exhibition spaces in its World War II-era garage and barracks. These new exhibits will teach visitors about St. Augustine’s role as a U.S. Coast Guard training site during the war.

For more information on the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum’s Night Fest celebration, visit staugustinelighthouse.org

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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 PortSM. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)(3) non-profit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is on a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest PortSM 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.

The Lighthouse Welcomes Smithsonian Scholar Dr. Richard J. Bell

Last week on Thursday, Feb. 9th, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum had the privilege of hosting Dr. Richard James Bell for a lecture on the lives of British Loyalists during the Revolutionary War. Dr. Bell is currently a professor of history at the University of Maryland, and received his PhD from Harvard University and his BA from the University of Cambridge.

The lecture went hand-in-hand with the St. Augustine Lighthouse’s newest exhibit Wrecked!, an interactive exhibit which tells of the discovery and plight of the 1782 British Loyalist shipwreck found off the coast of St. Augustine.

The event and lecture were sponsored by a grant from the Tourism Development Council (TDC) and featured as part of the Museum’s Smithsonian affiliation. It was held open to the public and the St. Augustine community. The event brought in over 100 attendees who were able to enjoy the beautiful evening on the front lawn of the Keepers’ House with food, beverages, and a new perspective on British Loyalists in American history.

The Lighthouse hosts member events like this every month. Annual memberships to the St. Augustine Lighthouse start at just $25 a person and can be purchased online, in the Museum  or over the phone (904) 829-0745. For more information please visit our website or call (904) 829-0745.

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Thomas Matthews Anderson is a senior at Flagler College majoring in Strategic Communication with minors in Advertising and Communication Media. He is originally from Tarboro, North Carolina, and is interning with the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum for the Spring 2017 semester.

V.I.P. Lighthouse Tours

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is pleased to offer a variety of private tours and exclusive experiences. Whether you’re searching for ghosts, bringing a group, or looking to enjoy an exclusive experience with some of the best views in town, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is guaranteed to provide you with an unforgettable and unique experience.

Sunset/Moonrise Tour

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The Sunset/Moonrise Tour is hosted once a month (starting times vary from month to month) and gives you the chance to experience some of St. Augustine’s most breath taking views during the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon from the top of our Lighthouse Tower Station. While enjoying the spectacular views and the peaceful transition from night to day, complimentary champagne from the San Sebastian Winery and hor d’oeuvres from the Reef Restaurant will be served atop the tower.

With a maximum of 32 people per tour, space is limited. This is an extremely popular tour that should be booked in advance. Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased online or can be purchased over the phone: 904-829-0745.

Private Lens Room Tour

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While general admission will only allow you to view the St. Augustine Lighthouse’s original 1874 first order Fresnel Lens from an observation window from below the Lens Room. This exclusive and VIP tour will give you an up-close look at our intricately designed engineering marvel that lights up the St. Augustine sky.

The lens itself is over nine feet tall, weighs over two tons, and is comprised of over 370 hand cut glass prisms. This private tour is hosted during the morning hours and gives you exclusive access to the Lighthouse Tower allowing you to enjoy the views and climb with no one else around. This tour is the only way to gain access and an up-close look inside the Lens Room making this the perfect tour for those engineering enthusiasts who are looking to get a closer look at our first order Fresnel lens. The private Lens Room tour would also make for a unique and unforgettable proposal.

This private experience can only be booked for the early morning hours and includes a light continental breakfast. This exclusive experience is $500 per person, and can be booked over the phone: (904) 829-0745

Private Ghost Tours

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Having been featured on Ghost Hunters (TAPS), Fox News, Parade Magazine, The Weather Channel, and many more, the St. Augustine Lighthouse is considered to be a very active haunted location in St. Augustine.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this exclusive tour will test your courage as you are guided through the grounds of the 1874 Lighthouse Tower and the 1876 Keepers House and told the true, but chilling stories of the St. Augustine Lighthouse in the dark of the night. This is the perfect tour for birthday celebrations, family reunions, and other groups that are looking to conduct their own private paranormal investigations at our haunted light station and grounds. Private ghost tours are available to groups of all sizes, this hour and a half long private tour will give you an up-close and in depth look around/inside the Lighthouse Tower & Keepers House once the sun goes down and the ghosts come out.

Private ghost tours are available for groups of all sizes and each tour can be customized to fit the groups needs. Our standard private ghost tour starts at $500 per group, this includes an hour and a half long guided tour. If interested, additional time may be added to the tour & overnight excursions are available as well. Private ghost tours can be booked over the phone and should be booked in advance at (904) 829-0745.

Thomas Matthews Anderson is a senior at Flagler College majoring in Strategic Communication with minors in Advertising and Communication Media. He is originally from Tarboro, North Carolina, and is interning with the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum for the Spring 2017 semester.

Spreading Holiday Cheer to our Volunteers

With just a few days left before the Christmas holiday, our staff and trustees gathered together yesterday for one of our favorite annual traditions.

servinglineOur nonprofit museum would not exist without our incredible corps of volunteers. We have over 250 folks who help us with everything from sweeping the tower to office administration tasks to standing at the top and bottom of the tower all hours of the day to provide guest services for our 200,000 visitors a year.

This past year, our volunteers donated 21,745 hours of service, which saves the Museum about $512,312. That’s huge!

One of the ways we like to thank these wonderful volunteers is by throwing a barbecue around Christmas time featuring some delicious, homemade dishes from our staff, trustees, and some of the volunteers themselves.

Our Director of Finance Lee Capitano and Director of Museum Services Rick Cain worked for days to prepare this year’s assortment of barbecued meats, which were complimented by a cavalcade of tasty sides and desserts.

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We can’t thank our volunteers enough — especially after all that they did to help us get back up and running after Hurricane Matthew!

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer at the Lighthouse, contact our Volunteer and Special Events Manager Loni Wellman at (904) 829-0745 ext. 213 or via email at lwellman@staugustinelighthouse.org.

Thanks again to our incredible volunteer crew and Happy Holidays!

Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Spiller and Volunteer and Special Events Manager Loni Wellman thanked volunteers on behalf of our staff and trustees for another great year!
Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Spiller and Volunteer and Special Events Manager Loni Wellman thanked volunteers on behalf of our staff and trustees for another great year!