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.

Read previous posts in the series:

» “Boxes & Beginnings”
» “Moving Ain’t Easy”
» “New Reflections”

Do you want to see something cool?

Psst. Hey you! Yeah, you!

Come close to the screen. I have a secret to share.

All week, our fantastic team of installation experts, creative folks, painters, and designers have been on site unpacking and mounting all of the imaginative pieces that will make up the backbone of our new exhibit.

Are you ready?

Below are the very first images of Wrecked! — which won’t be open to the public for a few more weeks (we still need to add in those all-important shipwreck artifacts and some extra-exciting interactive pieces).

But for now, enjoy this exclusive look at the newest addition to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum!


Start your Wrecked! journey on the first floor of the Keepers’ House with this 1:1 scale print of our shipwreck site map with insights into the history behind this American Revolutionary War-era wreck.

Conduct your own magnetometer search of this ocean grid in one of the many hands-on spaces in this new exhibit.

Conduct your own magnetometer search of this ocean grid in one of the many hands-on spaces in this new exhibit. (Notice anything familiar about the stripes on this table?)


At this table, you can learn to navigate with a traditional sextant or become video game archaeologist and discover, excavate and conserve shipwreck artifacts.


See what’s inside a shipwreck concretion just like our conservators do at this special X-ray station.


After learning about how archaeologists go about studying shipwrecks upstairs, you can go down into the Keepers’ House basement to see our shipwreck artifacts (coming soon!) up close.

star waters tea

In one corner of the basement, you can stop to share tea with our up-and-coming underwater archaeologist, Star Waters!


Here’s one of our favorite features! Remember the creepy, shadowy cisterns in our basement? Now they’ve been transformed into this beautiful art piece symbolizing the 16 British Loyalist ships lost at sea on New Year’s Eve 1782.


A closer view shows the ocean’s surface reflected above our doomed ships.


Our two largest artifacts from this wreck are already in place in the exhibit (but still undergoing some  conservation and cleaning). Just wait ’til you see the lead deck pump and cannon up close — can you believe these pieces were sitting on the ocean floor for over 200 years?

Are you excited yet?!?

We still have a ways to go before the exhibit is ready for visitors, but we wanted you to get a little peek at what’s been done so far!

This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, and the State of Florida.

Shannon O’Neil, Director of Public Relations,  joined the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum team in 2013. She is a native of St. Augustine and holds two degrees from Florida State University.