Over the next month as we approach the grand opening of our new exhibition, Wrecked!, we will be featuring blog and social media posts from our newest Museum team member, Ms. Star Waters! Star has an integral role in the new exhibition which she will be sharing here and in her total takeover of our social media accounts on May 4th!

Hey guys!


Gotta love those #BeachSelfies!

Wow, is this totally exciting or what? I am so stoked to be part of this new exhibit at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. I mean, have you seen this place? It’s awesome! There’s so much cool history to see here — and not just see, but really experience.

So, speaking of experience, you probably want to know what mine is right?

Well, I’ve been interested in archaeology since I was a little kid. It kinda started when I was with my grandpa walking on a river bank and we found this arrowhead that was half-buried in the ground. We took it down to our local museum and an archaeologist there told us more about Native Americans who made arrowheads like that for weapons and what their life was like.

It was SO COOL to find out how much information you can learn about people just from examining their old stuff.

Did you know there are different kinds of archaeology?

Really, there’s like a million different specialties within archaeology. Like some scientists just focus on agricultural stuff — the origins of plants and how they affect eating habits of different cultures — and some research specific time periods in history.

But the two main categories of archaeology are terrestrial and maritime. Terrestrial archaeology looks at historic sites on land while maritime archaeology focuses on historic sites that are underwater.

Both kinds involve a ton of patience and research, but nautical archaeology comes with lots of other complications because you have to do all the same careful excavation that terrestrial archaeologists do, but you have to do it all under water!

Have you met my friends at the Lighthouse?

As soon as I found out about the nautical archaeology program at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, I HAD to come check it out. After I got my junior dive certification they even let me go out on their research vessel, R/V Roper, and dive with them on this old shipwreck!


Check me out on board the R/V Roper getting ready to dive on a shipwreck!

Man, I can’t tell you how amazing it is.


Having a great time underwater!

I mean it’s tough work — on a good day, you can only see about an arm’s length in front of your face. So when you’re trying to document all the artifacts you see and then carefully move the sand away from them so you can get them out safely, all while not being able to see very well, that’s super hard.

But the hard work doesn’t end there! Then they have to bring the artifacts back to the Museum where the archaeological conservators work on getting the rusty, hard outer shell (they call it a concretion) off the artifacts without damaging them.

I’ve also learned a lot about making exhibits from hanging around the Museum.

While the archaeologists have been working on the shipwreck artifacts, the education team at the Museum has been taking all of those pieces and the research that goes with them and turning the information into an exhibit.

In the museum world they call this interpretation — it’s kinda like translating something from one language to another, only in this case it’s translating years of research, history, information, and artifacts into a snapshot that helps our Museum guests understand this really important piece of history.

And what a cool piece of history it is!


I love reading through the research on this wreck — it’s incredible what you can find in archives from all over the world!

When I learned about the American Revolution in school, we mostly talked about the Patriots who fought for our independence. But there’s actually another side to the story, too.

Some people, even people who were born in the American colonies, didn’t want us to be independent from England. They thought it was better for the colonies to remain under British rule. Many of them formed their own militias and joined with British forces to fight for what they believed in.

But, of course as we all know, the Patriots won out in the end and established a new country. Unfortunately, that meant that all the people who fought against them were not welcome in their towns anymore so they were forced to leave.

Can you imagine what that was like?

All of these people had to abandon the homes and the lives they made for themselves and run away to start over somewhere else. For a lot of them, St. Augustine was the closest place to do that. East and West Florida stayed loyal to England throughout the revolution, so St. Augustine was a safe harbor.

Hundreds of ships left Charleston, S.C., near the end of 1782, loaded with military members and civilians who were British Loyalists — people who fought against America’s independence.

Sixteen of those ships tried to enter St. Augustine’s harbor during the last week of 1782, but none of them made it safely. Their ships were too big and loaded down with too much stuff to pass over the shallow sandbar at the St. Augustine inlet.

Most of the people on board were able to get off on smaller boats and get to shore, but all the stuff they brought to start their new lives sank to the bottom of the ocean where the Lighthouse archaeologists found it over 200 years later.

Now, Wrecked! will tell this important story

I have to tell you, I am SUPER excited about this exhibition. All of the artifacts inside (which are just a small sample of the 600+ pieces that have been recovered from this shipwreck) really show you what life was like for people in 1782.

Plus, it also shows you how today’s technology can be used to find shipwrecks.


A sneak peek of me in the new exhibit! It’s still coming together, but it looks awesome!

Still, I have a lot of questions about the wreck and its excavation. You’ll see those throughout the exhibit (How awesome is that?!? I still can’t believe they let me be part of this!)  along with answers from my new archaeologist friends at the Museum.


My replica! Be sure to stop and get a picture with her when you visit Wrecked! at the Museum.

We can also share some tea down and talk about the wreck (like the passengers on our ship probably did while they were sailing from Charleston) and you can even take your picture with me in my SCUBA gear!

So keep your eyes peeled here on the Keepers’ Blog and on our Twitter, Instagram and Periscope social media accounts because I’m going to be sharing some more of my thoughts there over the next couple of weeks.

I’m even going to do a total social media takeover on May 4th, the day before our grand opening!


Star Waters is a junior archaeologist who has been volunteering at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. She is currently in high school and already planning her career in underwater archaeology!