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Amazing Atmosphere - Review by Ann E | Lightner Museum

Lightner Museum

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Amazing Atmosphere 10/12/2006

The Lightner Museum is a must see in Saint Augustine and the first place I would take friends visiting from other colleges. It is housed in what used to be the Alcazar Hotel, the more accessible Flagler Hotel, where one could purchase a single night, if desired, as opposed to the Ponce de Leon, whose rooms needed to be purchased for the entire winter season. A few rooms feature pictures of what was in them when it was the hotel, before it became the private home of O.C. Lightner and then the Lightner Museum. I don't take my friends there to see two tall, bright rooms full of glassware or pictures made of hair, or the collections of dolls and cigar bands (all of which Lightner collected) but to experience the entire collection and building. It has a grandeur that is difficult to describe and even more difficult to find in the U.S. There are some amazing artifacts, such as a stuffed lion that had been a gift to Winston Churchill, a mummy, early typewriters, and a shrunken head (Lightner was akin to Ripley, in a way). The ballroom, that is used to display a few antique pieces of furniture, it breathtaking. One can look down at the antique mall and cafe that are now in what used to be a very large indoor swimming pool, and up at the ceiling that had at one point been retractable. Turkish baths, a display on the swimming that occurred there in the twenties, with original bathing suits and posters, and a dark room full of beautifully back lit stained glass exhibits are a few things that also stick out in my mind. It is not boring, though not every exhibit will appeal to everyone. The courtyard, where Lightner is buried, which also has a host of shops and a gorgeous koi pond, is another place that will stay with you if you visit. more
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