St. Augustine Lightner Museum
St. Augustine, Florida, USA
- The Alcazar: Henry Flagler spared no expense on this extravagant retreat for the wealthy, and every square foot of this Spanish Renaissance masterpiece shows it.
- 1st floor: View quaint shops in a recreated Victorian-era village; see stuffed birds, a model steam engine, Native American artifacts in ornate cases, and rare musical instruments.
- 2nd floor: Admire dazzling samples of cut glass and stained glass artistry, including vintage Tiffany lamps and other works from the original Tiffany studio.
- 3rd floor: See paintings, sculptures, and furniture, including a grande escritoire created for Holland's King Louis Bonaparte and an 1830 malachite urn from the czar's palace.
About this St. Augustine, Florida tour
Chicago editor and publisher Otto Curtis Lightner had a knack for turning around financially distressed newspapers, and it made him rich. Unlike many tycoons, he did not lose his fortune in the 1929 market crash, and had enough money and leisure time during the Depression to indulge his love of antiques by publishing Hobbies, an early collectibles magazine. He became what we might today call a hoarder, but on a colossal scale, collecting other collectors' collections, then collecting some of Chicago's largest homes and estates to store everything in.
In the 1940s, he moved to St. Augustine for his health. He was struck by the grandeur of the now closed Alcazar Hotel its architects also designed the Fifth Avenue New York Public Library and the U.S. Senate office building and added it to his collection of places to keep his collections. Not long after, he opened it to the public as the Lightner Museum: a beautiful relic of a bygone era filled with beautiful relics of a bygone era. In his will he bequeathed it to the city of St. Augustine. The Lightner became known as the "Smithsonian of the South" and is today listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Today everyone ridicules and pity hoarders, entertained by shows that let you see the mess their lives have become. But beauty is in the eye of the hoarder. It's possible that all that separates those tortured souls from "collectors" like Otto Lightner is good taste and the wealth to indulge it on a vast scale. His hoard is actually worth seeing.
Eggs and toast
Otto Lightner's refined tastes could lean toward the bizarre. Among the 20,000 items at his museum are a mechanical chicken that lays prize-bearing eggs, a quack medical device made of pistons and glass plates that doesn't actually do anything, a shrunken head, and the "Little Museum of Toasters," which chronicles the history of toast through the early 20th century.
Please make your way to the Lightner Museum at 75 King Street, St. Augustine.
This is a self-guided experience. Closed Christmas Day.
To fully participate may require leisurely walking over primarily even surfaces. There may be a limited number of steps and some standing for extended periods of time. The museum is handicapped and wheelchair accessible.
Cultural, Family Friendly
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Tickets for teens 13-17 years of age are $2 per child. This charge is to be paid in person upon arrival. It is not collected by GoBe prior and must be paid in order to participate. Children 12 years of age and younger participate free of charge.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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