Looking for important sites in New York? You can go to the National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island. This museum allows you to learn about the history of navigation, lighthouses, and their guardians. If you visit the city, you should not miss the opportunity to visit this charming museum.
This museum is located in the United States Lighthouse Service General Depot building.
Inside the museum, you can enjoy:
Exterior visits to building 10
Extraordinary panoramic views from Pier 1 in New York Harbor
Historic buildings of the place
Building 11 and all the exhibitions that currently exist
Souvenir and gift shop so that they have a memory of the place
If you are a lighthouse lover, you will love this place, and it is very close to the Ferry Terminal. Currently, the National Lighthouse Museum is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM. They are responsible for complying with all security protocols for COVID-19 to protect their workers and visitors.
National Lighthouse Museum: A site worth visiting
The National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island lets you learn about the most important and fun facts about lighthouses in the country. You will know which was the first lighthouse to use electricity and the oldest lighthouse.
The Board of Advisors, Trustees, and friends of the National Lighthouse Museum work every day to develop the place. As previously mentioned, this location of the museum is on the General Depot of the Lighthouse Service on Staten Island from 1864 to 1939.
In conjunction with non-profit organizations, government agencies, foundations, and corporations, they support and promote historical, cultural, educational, and recreational activities. Its mission is to maintain the heritage of lighthouses and the importance of navigation.
The objectives of this museum are the following:
Maintain and establish a history museum that is open to the public and displays everything related to lighthouses. It is located on Staten Island in Richmond County in New York.
Document, report, and research everything related to the history and technology of lighthouses in the United States.
Collect, safeguard, and explain objects related to the history, technology, and guardians of the United States.
Create and maintain a file of objects, artifacts, and different materials related to lighthouses in the country.
Promote and encourage research into the history of all the lighthouses in the United States.
Be a point of contact for conferences and public consultations related to the history, education, research, programs, and collections of American lighthouses.
Support other organizations, museums, and lighthouse sites that exist in the future.
Being able to celebrate and honor America’s lighthouse heritage through publications, educational programs, festivals, movies, conferences, living history, and more.
Be able to establish ties and alliances with organizations to continue offering these services to the entire public.
National Lighthouse Museum Historic Site in Staten Island, New York
Since 1799, the National Lighthouse Museum’s current site was the New York Marine Hospital location, which is known as The Quarantine. On Ellis Island, before the construction of the processing center, immigrants in poor health were separated from other immigrants and the hospital population.
This hospital called La Cuarentena was used in New York to fight with infectious diseases such as cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, and typhus. Until 1500, detainees could also stay in that hospital.
By 1850, after a series of epidemics occurred, a crowd of locals decided to burn the 21 buildings that the hospital complex had. In 1862, the Staten Island Lighthouse Depot was built in the old hospital by the United States Lighthouse Service.
It was key storage, manufacturing, maintenance, and supply center for the USLHS Third District and the area that ran north to Albany, from Sandy Hook in the south and east to the Massachusetts border.
During the 1800s and early 1900s, the Staten Island Depot had a timely growth to its maximum size during World War I.
They also built two stores to handle the Lightship and Lighthouse lenses’ maintenance and construction. Many of the lenses were several feet tall and weighed thousands of pounds. They had storage areas that were underground and were called Las Bóvedas and were used to store fuel to use in the lighthouses.
Inside these vaults, a complete machinery workshop and a function area where chains, leads, anchors, buoys, and everything related to the lighthouse were made.
The Lighthouse Museum is an Amazing Place to Visit
Technology progressed, and automated headlamps arrived in the 1920s and 1930s. They were then replaced by electronic signals that were more reliable, which greatly altered the Depot’s mission. All supply and maintenance work saw a huge reduction drastically.
The Staten Island Depot Foundry had to change and became one of the manufacturers of the floating aids to navigation known as buoys. They were responsible for the maintenance and manufacture of the buoys used on the east coast of the United States.
Their dock spaces were forests of sea buoys, ice buoys, channel markers, sinkers, day markings, chains, and anchors. In 1939 with the United States Coast Guard merger with the US Lighthouse Service, the US Lighthouse Service continued its work. The Second World War had to become a place for equipping and repairing ships.
After the war, this depot continued with repair, maintenance, and manufacturing work. By 1950 it had become one of the most prominent supply depots for the Coast Guard in the northeastern United States.
In the 1960s, with the advancement of technology and budget cuts, the heavy workload was sent to the USCG Yard in Curtis Bay. In 1965 the Staten Island Depot closed its doors. In 1978, the United States Coast Guard made a formal donation of the land to New York City.
Currently, building 11 has been renovated and is the Educational Resource Center of the National Lighthouse Museum. Many original buildings are still on the site, such as the barracks, the lamp shops, etc.
If you want to know more about this wonderful place, you can go to the official website and find out all the tours and guided available visits. You also have the opportunity to enjoy the Lighthouse boat tours. You will see other places that cannot be seen from lands like bird sanctuaries and ship cemeteries.