ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, a private nonprofit, is open for guests during the government shutdown. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Dark of the Moon Ghost Tours also are available each Friday through Sunday. For ticket and tour details, go to staugustinelighthouse.org or call 904-829-0745.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is not government owned. In 1998 the Museum was separately incorporated as a not-for-profit institution with a mission of maritime history, education and community service.
In 1980, the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, Inc., who were then a group of only 16 volunteers, began a fifteen-year campaign to restore the Keepers’ House that was destroyed and gutted by a vandal’s fire. The League went on to restore the lighthouse tower, and with assistance from the United States Coast Guard, they performed the first Fresnel Lens restoration in the world. The lens had been damaged by a vandal’s bullet, and was almost removed, but the entire community stepped in to save this front porch light for the community. A maritime museum was opened to the public part-time in 1988 run by volunteers. In spring 1994, the full site was opened to the public full time.
THINGS TO DO
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, a WWII US Coast Guard Barracks, Behind the Scenes Tours, a Maritime Hammock Scavenger Hunt, an archaeology 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 (children less than 44 inches tall can’t climb the tower but get free admission). Don’t forget to shop in the museum store for unique lighthouse and maritime gifts.
- Wrecked! The Story of a Revolutionary War Shipwreck
- At Home with the Harns: A Look Inside the Home of a Keeper Family
- Legends of the Light: Stories from the Lighthouse’s Past
- US Coast Guard Barracks from WWII with artwork depicting the US Coast Guard
- Maritime Education Center ship models and Spanish Watchtower replica
OTHER THINGS TO DO
- Self-Guided St. Augustine Light Station Tour
- View from the Top video (for those who don’t climb and those under 44 inches)
- Behind the Scenes tour: on the hour from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Keepers’ House
- Heritage Boatworks: Building on Florida’s Maritime Heritage
- Northeast Florida Shrimping: Foundation of a Global Enterprise
- Maritime Hammock Nature Trails & Scavenger Hunt
- Archaeology Conservation Lab & viewing window
- Shipyard Playground
- Hands-on children’s activities
- Gift shop with Lighthouse & Maritime items
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 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)