After months of planning, we are less than a week away from beginning the installation of Legends of the Light a new exhibit here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. The landings of the staircase will display historic photographs and stories of the people who lived and worked at the Lighthouse. The Maritime Archaeology & Education Center (MAEC) will present more keepers’ stories and play host to a large selection of ship models from our collection. For more information on what you will see in this exciting new exhibit, read about it here.
Our staff members have been busy preparing for the installation for the past few weeks. Every collections item that goes into the exhibit needs careful cleaning and assessment to ensure it is in good condition. Staff has also worked hard to paint exhibit cases to get them ready for display. Old exhibit signs in the Lighthouse are being removed to make room for the new exhibit panels. Workers are quickly readying the MAEC for occupation. The exhibit fabricators are completing off-site assembly of exhibit components to ensure a smooth and quick installation process. Continue reading →
Right now, the sounds of construction punctuate the Lighthouse grounds, as a new building takes shape. The Maritime Archaeology & Education Center (MAEC) will house offices, education space, a maritime archaeology center, and a new exhibit space. Behind the scenes, our Interpretation division is working with exhibit designers to create an engaging and informative exhibit detailing the history of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the people that lived and worked there.
The new exhibit is entitled Legends of the Light with plans to open summer 2017. It will tell the stories of the lighthouse keepers and their families who called the St. Augustine Lighthouse home. Visitors will learn about the first night William Russell lit the light at the top of the tower. They will see photographs of the Old Spanish Watchtower and get to examine a model of the tower as it looked before the ocean claimed it in 1880. The exhibit also highlights the stories of Maria Andreu and Kate Harn, two keepers’ wives who themselves served as keepers at the St. Augustine Light Station after the passing of their husbands. Continue reading →
We were so humbled by the turnout at last night’s Wrecked! Exhibition Grand Opening! Thank you to everyone who joined us, and especially Ancient City Brewing, musician Justin Gurnsey, and Jackie Hird Photography who helped us provide a great night for our guests.
We also christened and launched our 1760s British Yawl boat, built by our incredible volunteers at the Lighthouse Heritage Boatworks.
If you didn’t get a chance to come by, you have plenty of time to visit and see this interactive exhibition for yourself! Bring the whole family, you’re sure to have a blast.
Below are just a few photos from this great night — enjoy!
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 createWrecked! a new experience coming to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in May 2016.
Imagine this scenario: You have a delicate, 18th century cannon that ways a ton (literally, it weighs about 2,000 lbs.) located in the basement of an equally delicate 19th century historic building and you need to move it.
Oh, but that’s just the first cannon.
Yeah, that’s right, there’s TWO of them. The second one isn’t as heavy as the first (only around 1,000 lbs.) but it’s got to go into the basement in place of the larger cannon.
Who you gonna call?
(No, it’s not who you think — but we do have those guys on speed dial for other reasons…)
Our staff has moved a few cannons on occasion, but for this big step in preparing for our new exhibit, we knew right away that this task would require some additional help.
Thankfully, the fantastic team at Nieman & Co. Rigging and Crane Services, Inc. was up to the task. These guys are experts in moving big objects — they’ve transported everything from ancient sculptures to nuclear submarine simulators.
With our grant support from the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida, we hired the team at Nieman to come in and help us relocate two of the biggest pieces in our Museum collection to their new homes, respectively.
Wait, why did we have to move cannons in the first place?
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.
Wrecked! A (brief) origin story
Here’s the first thing you need to know about making an exhibit: It takes a long time.
If you want to be technical about it, the origins of Wrecked! go all the way back to August 24, 2009. On that fateful day, our team of archaeologists from the Museum’s research arm, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), were wrapping up their summer field season when they first laid eyes on an 18th century shipwreck buried in the sands just off St. Augustine’s coastline.