The Lightner Museum is the recent recipient of a $25,000 grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to improve its fourth floor collection storage space. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. The Lightner Museum is 1 of 132 projects chosen to receive funding. Only 24 percent of this funding cycle’s 558 applicants were selected.

Typewriters all in rows, rest in the 4th floor storage spaces in the Lightner Museum.

The grant will allow the Lightner Museum to hire a museum collections consultant to improve the efficiency and functionality of its collections workspace for staff. Under the guidance of the consultant, the museum will purchase furnishings for new workspaces, which will be used to enter 500 new objects into the permanent collection. This is the first phase in a multi-phase project to transform the current space into a state-of-the-art storage facility for fine and decorative art.

“The long-term goal is to secure and organize collection storage in a way that the public can have greater access to the museum’s holdings. ‘Open storage’ concepts have proven to be very successful at institutions like the Met where visitors can actually walk into collections storage and see objects that would otherwise be kept behind closed doors,” said Robert Harper, Lightner Museum Executive Director.

Natural materials including shrunken heads, (some more shrunken than others), and other interesting objects like a giant head made out of shells, is housed in one of the rooms on the 4th floor of the Lightner Museum.

The museum’s fourth floor was originally used as living quarters for the staff of Henry Flagler’s Alcazar Hotel, which opened in 1888 and closed in 1931. This area is included in new “Upstairs/Downstairs at the Alcazar” tours, which discusses the in-depth history of the building. The fourth floor also serves as the home to 100 percent of Otto Lightner’s collection when it is not on exhibit.


A preserved crab from the natural history collection rests on a desk overlooking a plethora of shells and rocks in one of the rooms on the 4th floor storage space.

Institute of Museum and Library Services director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew states, “As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other. IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.” The museum’s current exhibition, Dressing Downton™, has been a catalyst for raising money to invest in the long-term preservation and display of Otto Lightner’s original bequest. For more information on how to “adopt an artifact” or support preservation projects, please visit or contact [email protected].

       About The Lightner Museum

The Museum’s mission is to preserve, maintain, research, and interpret the Museum’s collections of nineteenth century art, decorative art, and material culture for the educational benefit of the visiting public.The Lightner Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that relies heavily on private donation and grant funding to continue its exhibits throughout the year. To learn more visit


A giant head made of shells is housed in one of the rooms on the 4th floor storage space in the Lightner Museum.

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


The Oliver Co. Typewriter No. 9 resides in its resting place in one of the rooms on the 4th floor of the museum.