Lightner Museum

Enjoy the atmosphere and artwork of another age at this elegant Museum, formerly the Alcazar Hotel.

Across from Flagler College.
75 King Street, St. Augustine, FL, 32084
  • (904) 824-2874
5

Hours of Operation

Sun - Sat:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • The Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, which was built in 1888. Henry M. Flagler commissioned architects Carrere and Hastings to construct this architectural masterpiece. The Alcazar closed during the Depression, and in 1948 the building was purchased by Otto Lightner, who was editor and publisher of Hobbies Magazine in Chicago. Lightner converted the hotel into a museum to contain his vast collection of decorative and fine arts. He bequeathed the building to a board of directors who then opened it to the public several years later. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and today is home to both the Lightner Museum and City government offices.

    Otto Lightner was fascinated by what other people collected, a hobby that became his trademark and his passion, which is clearly reflected in his diverse and eccentric collection. The four floors of the museum are filled with interesting and beautiful artwork from over a century ago. The historic ambience of the museum, with its costumes, furnishings, and other Gilded Age artifacts, transport the visitor to the heyday of the Alcazar Hotel and its wealthy visitors. What was once known as the World's Largest Indoor Swimming Pool (dry now, though it seems to echo with the voices of a bygone era) is the elegant setting for the Café Alcazar and frequently serves as a venue for special events in St. Augustine.

    Other highlights of the museum include exquisite Victorian art glass, stained glass works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Oriental art, and a Victorian Village portraying 19th-century life. The museum is self-guided with docents available to answer questions. Nineteenth-century mechanical musical instruments are demonstrated daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The museum hosts monthly events, such as the Curator's Tour on the first Wednesday of every month and Lightner After Hours, a free open house in the evenings of the last Thursday of each month.

    The Lightner Museum also offers an in-depth tour called Upstairs/Downstairs, which allows visitors to get a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes in the museum. The Upstairs/Downstairs Tour ($45.00) is offered by request and is limited to 10 people.

    During the run of the special exhibit, "Edgar Degas: A Private Impressionist" (April 12 – June 16, 2019), the Upstairs Downstairs Tour will include the Degas exhibit and will be offered Mondays through Fridays at 1:00 p.m. until June 14. Tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance of the tour. Visit here for more information and to book a tour.

    The Lightner Museum is located at 75 King Street in the historic downtown district of St. Augustine, just across from Flagler College.


    Upcoming Events

    Event Title Date Time
    Lightner After Hours July 25, 2019 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
    Lightner Museum Curator's Tour August 7, 2019 10:00 am
    Lightner After Hours August 29, 2019 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
    Lightner Museum Curator's Tour September 4, 2019 10:00 am
    Lightner After Hours September 26, 2019 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
    Ace Winn September 26, 2019 6:00 pm
    Lightner Museum Curator's Tour October 2, 2019 10:00 am
    Lightner After Hours October 31, 2019 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
    Lightner Museum Curator's Tour November 6, 2019 10:00 am
    Lightner After Hours November 28, 2019 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Reviews

    5
    I was visiting the Lightner Museum in the fall of 2017 to see the Dressing Downton exhibition. This exhibit was curated from the beautiful decorative arts from the Lightner Museum and the original fashion from the popular PBS show Downton Abbey. I absolutely love the exhibition because their use of furniture, decorative accessories, china, crystal and ceramics was exceptional. You can just imagine the characters in the show sitting down for tea, attending a party or watching over their babes in a period pram. The attention to detail was exceptional and the information boards were very helpful in placing the pieces into context within the show. It was easy to imagine the glory of it all at the beginning of the 20th century. If you have time, be sure and have lunch or high tea at the Cafe Alcazar you will not regret it. Even if the exhibition is no longer there (until Jan.7, 2018) don't hesitate in visiting the museum as it is beautiful inside and out.

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    5
    The Lightner Museum is absolutely breathtaking. The elegance of this building and it's furnishings can't be expressed in words or pictures. You have to go see it yourself! The music room and the Tiffany lamps were among my favorites. If you only have time to see one thing in Saint Augustine, this is it!!!! It's a large three story museum, so bring your walking shoes. Loved it!!!

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    5
    Amazing view of the past and how very wealthy people spent their fortunes....beautiful objects.

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    3
    It's no Chicago Field Museum, but as far as local museums, it's probably the best. You won't find any insanely unique pieces associated with extremely famous people - but it is quirky and a lot of the artifacts are at least really REALLY beautiful to look at. There's several different areas, and some of the items really caught my eye. Not the best of the best, but it was definitely worth the visit.

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    5
    I never thought the Lightner would be as incredible as it was. I have walked past that building a million times, but when I finally went in and looked around I could not believe what I was seeing. Their collections are incredible - beautiful antiques, paintings, and exhibits. The architecture of the building is unbelievable, and it's been renovated/maintained so well. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone.

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