Tag Archives: Volunteers

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum awarded $15K grant from Volunteer Florida

Volunteer student interns help at summer camp each year at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. This photo is from a 2018 summer camp activity.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum will receive a $15,000 grant from Volunteer Florida. The Tallahassee-based organization announced this week that it is awarding $360,000 in Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) grant funding to 24 nonprofit and service organizations throughout the state. Each organization will receive a $15,000 grant, and together they will match the funding with $360,000 in local donations. In total, $572,000 will be invested in Florida’s communities.

“We are grateful to Volunteer Florida for all they do for our communities, said Kathy Fleming, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. “We look forward to providing even more civic engagement and educational opportunities through this amazing support!”

The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, a private nonprofit, has a current volunteer program that consists of 273 volunteers who donate nearly 25,000 hours each year.

The Museum works with local colleges, namely University of North Florida and Flagler College, to provide internships and opportunities to gain relevant work experience. Internships cover all areas of the organization and include experience with public relations, graphic design, tourism management, public history and history education, underwater archaeology, and artifact conservation and care. The Museum also coordinates with local high schools to provide opportunities for high school students. These roles include office assistant, historic interpreter, collections assistant, and junior camp counselor.

Volunteer Florida’s VGF program, which is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, will help grantees use skills-based volunteers to serve Florida students, families and communities. Skills-based volunteerism expands the impact of organizations by leveraging the experience and talents of professionals, such as teachers, IT consultants, accountants and attorneys. This year, special consideration was also given to organizations that can utilize volunteers to help with disaster mitigation and response or reducing or preventing prescription drug or opioid abuse. For more information, please visit www.volunteerflorida.org.

“I’m very proud of Volunteer Florida’s administration of the Volunteer Generation Fund,” said David Mica, Jr., CEO at Volunteer Florida. “It’s a unique program, strategically promoting skills-based volunteerism in order to increase productivity within organizations, and in turn, generate a more significant impact among their respective beneficiaries throughout Florida.”

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


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)

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.


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!

Progress on the Florida Skipjack

The building of an authentic replica of a traditional fishing craft called a Florida skipjack was begun with a grant award from the Community Foundation from Northeast Florida. The Crisp-Ellert Grant is one that supports the arts and the Foundation has acknowledged that traditional wooden boat carpentry is an art form. The mission of the Heritage Boatworks at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is to “recover, preserve, and pass on the traditional art of boat carpentry as practiced in St. Augustine”, and with a 451 year tradition of building wooden craft in St. Augustine, the Heritage Boatworks have plenty to choose from.

DSC04952View of the skipjack toward the starboard stern quarter

The design of the craft originated in Essex on the Connecticut River and was brought to Northeast Florida by a Captain Watrous around 1850. The skipjack under construction is a replica of a craft that was originally built on the St. Johns River in New Berlin, outside of Jacksonville between 1875 and 1880. During the Great Depression in October, 1936, the craft was documented as part of a WPA project called the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey (HAMMS). Her dimensions, fastening, manner of framing, and the type of woods that went into her construction were all recorded in some 26 pages of field notes with measured drawings and photographs the end product of which became a set of ship lines that were drafted from all the collected data. This information was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. where all the records from the HAMMS project are archived. These lines and notes were used by the Boatworks to project and replicate the shape of the hull. Continue reading

13 Things You Learn on a Lighthouse Archaeology Boat

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1. Dramamine is always a good idea.

Better safe than sorry. If you are not used to being out on a boat for an entire day watching the horizon move up and down for 12 hours straight, then trust me, you will want to take some Dramamine. Even if your family owns a boat that you take out on a regular basis, you will still want to take it. You might be a little groggy throughout the day, but at least you’re not sick.

oh no

2. You will wake up at hours that you have never seen before.

It’s so early that coffee might not even do the trick. The team meets at the barracks to go out to the boat at 6 a.m., meaning you have to get up at about 5:15a.m. to get ready to go. Even by the time you get to the barracks, it is still dark outside. Then, when you are getting on the boat at about 6:45 a.m. you will see other people that are awake at this time too. You will be very confused, but too tired to really think about it that much.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.21.13 AM Continue reading

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Hosts Volunteer Recruiting & Training Session

Volunteers interested in donating their time to preserve and present maritime history are invited to join the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum for a special recruiting and training session on Thursday, Nov. 13th.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. – Volunteers are at the heart of every nonprofit organization, and at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum it is no different. Although the museum has a thriving base of more than 200 volunteers, more are always needed to assist with site shifts, visitor services, special events, academic research and a variety of other tasks.

IMG_7852On Thursday, Nov. 13th, the lighthouse will host a special recruiting and training session for new volunteers. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. with refreshments and a meet and greet with Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator Loni Wellman. At 3:00 p.m., Wellman will lead a brief training session followed by a private tour of the museum grounds at 4:00 p.m.

“Our volunteer base is so important to us as a growing museum,” said Wellman. “We have so many opportunities for people of all ages and skill levels to become part of our museum. Whether you can volunteer for an hour each week or for one day a year, you can make an impact.”

Current volunteer openings at the museum include assistance with research and collections, special events support and visitor services opportunities. In exchange for donating their time, volunteers at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum are eligible for some special perks including a free museum membership, 20% discount in the gift shop and invitations to special events. Continue reading