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St. Augustine, Florida: Lightner Museum

"The Smithsonian of the South" has several items of note in its vast collection, including a real shrunken head, an Egyptian mummy, and the "Little Museum of Toasters." Also: Otto Lightner himself; he's buried just outside the museum's entrance.

75 King St., St. Augustine, FL
Downtown. On the south side of US Hwy 1 Business/King St., three blocks west of Hwy A1A, or five blocks east of US Hwy 1. In the impressive old Alcazar Hotel.
M-Sa 9-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $10.00
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Lightner Museum

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Lightner Museum

The Lightner Museum is still open for its posted hours, but it has undergone some major renovations. The old storefront area is gone, replaced by a gift shop (be sure to get a silhouette done on the weekends). The natural history oddities are mostly still there (the touchable shells and minerals are in storage) and there are no music machine demonstrations until further notice. A few other odd gems (the cigar band collage and stained glass come to mind) are also in storage, but the other oddities and nifty exhibits are intact. Overall, I'm glad I saw the Lightner as it was, but the renovations are a welcome update.

[Prof. ~.a.~, 08/07/2020]

Toaster collection.

Lightner Museum

At the Lighter Museum, the Leonard H. Baer Toaster Collection and Egyptian child mummy.

[Jody High, 04/11/2017]
Lightner Museum

Tremendous collection of everything. Art pieces, rare furniture and various collections of all kind. Many one of a kind artifacts; collection in the museum is easily worth millions of dollars. Very impressive place.

[Johnsorg, 06/04/2016]

Lightner Museum.

Lightner Museum - Unexpected Oddities

A short walk from Villa Zorayda, the Lightner Museum has long been considered "the Smithsonian of the South." Like that other august institution, it also has a few surprising oddities for roadside fans, especially in the natural history room. Among these is an Egyptian mummy (a child's mummy, admittedly, but a mummy nonetheless) and an authentic shrunken head (the museum has others, but they're allegedly too hideous to display). Other unique artifacts include elaborate vintage music machines, a stuffed gator suspended from the ceiling, an antique vending machine consisting of an animatronic chicken that laid prize-filled eggs, and a vintage quack medical device mostly consisting of pistons and glass plates.

The rest of the museum has some intriguing pieces as well (the "Little Museum of Toasters" and several unusual paintings come to mind), and its former-hotel setting allows for some unusual history and presentation; the cafe and antique mall, for example, are in the former swimming pool.

Given how tourist-friendly St. Augustine is, the Lightner is very much worth a visit while in the area.

[Prof. A, 05/01/2014]

June 2015: Photo added.

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Oldest Rug: Villa Zorayda MuseumWorld's Oldest Rug: Villa Zorayda Museum, St. Augustine, FL - < 1 mi.
Thwarted Footsteps of Andrew YoungThwarted Footsteps of Andrew Young, St. Augustine, FL - < 1 mi.
Pointing Ponce de LeonPointing Ponce de Leon, St. Augustine, FL - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Last Silent Movie Studio in Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL - 35 mi.

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