Featured Image: Percy Moran, Gathering Brushwood, oil on canvas; Various Makers, Salt and Pepper Shakers; Paul Trouillibert, Cleopatra and the Dying Messenger, oil on canvas, 1873

75 for 75: Lightner Museum Diamond Anniversary Exhibition

The Lightner Museum has been an important part of the St. Augustine community since it was first built as the Hotel Alcazar in 1888. The building opened as a museum in January 1948. In celebration of our 75th diamond anniversary in 2023, 75 for 75 presents a compelling selection of artwork and objects from the museum’s permanent collection.

Founded in 1948 as the Lightner Museum of Hobbies, the Lightner Museum has its origins in the craze for collecting that swept America in the years surrounding the Great De­pression. As millions found themselves out of work, hobbies were seen as a way to reinforce the work ethic at a time when work itself was under threat. One of the great advocates for hobbies and collecting in the United States, Otto Lightner (1886-1950) was the publisher of Hobbies magazine. Launched in 1931, Hobbies promoted itself as “the magazine for collectors.” While Lightner advocated for every kind of hobby, from collecting matchbooks and cigar labels to whittling wood, he had the means to amass a substantial personal collection of fine and decorative art, natural history specimens, and Americana.

Lightner first opened a museum of hobbies in Chicago in 1934. In addition to his eclectic and eccentric collections, he encour­aged the readers of Hobbies magazine to send him their collec­tions. Following a stay at St. Augustine’s Ponce de Leon Hotel in 1946, Lightner purchased the neighboring Hotel Alcazar to serve as the permanent home for his collection.

75 for 75 celebrates the Lightner Museum and the incredible legacy that Otto Lightner left to the people of St. Augustine.

75 for 75 is presented by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. Additional support comes from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

St. Johns Cultural Council
St. Johns County Tourist Development Council
Culture Builds Florida


Category: Exhibitions

Tiffany Studios, Floriform Vases, 1900 – 1910

Arthur Storch, Ape, 1921

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