Crooked River Light House

Lighthouse Blog

Thanks to Joan and Arlene for the educational community outreach to Project Impact kids!!

On Tuesday June 29th, Crooked River Lighthouse was visited by 148 enthusiastic little ones from the wonderful Project Impact After school and Summer Camp Enrichment Program. The Keeper's House wrap around porch was the scene for an en masse picnic lunch and the facilitators did an excellent job of coordinating the meal time and one-at-a time bathroom break! Carrabelle Lighthouse board officer Arlene Oehler and curator and program developer Joan Matey welcomed the young students. During lunch children engaged in guessing the age and height of the tower, and were told that the 103 foot structure had been shipped as a build-it-yourself kit, like a huge Tinker toy, back in 1895.


Children ranged from Pre-K through 2nd grade, and entered the museum in groups of 16-18 at a time. Inside are photographs of the original crew building the tower and also portraits of the first keepers and their families. Children were asked if they thought it would be easy or hard to be a lighthouse keeper and the job duties from the early days were explained. When asking how light was made before electricity, we loved the thoughtful answers given by the littlest ones ( "from the sun and from the moon"). Hurricane lamps around the rooms helped to illustrate the next step up from candle power, and the soot on the glass chimneys helped to show that the keeper had to not only keep the tower light beaming all night but had to spend the next day cleaning the lenses to keep it as bright as possible. Many of the children had not heard of prisms but most had played with magnifying glasses and had seen how curved glass enlarges. Our science room exhibits show what eventually replaced the lighthouse keeper, an automatic high intensity light bulb changer.


Our history room also displays a gramophone and some children's toys from the 1900s. Via a replica of the 1903 Sears catalog students could see the kind of clothing they would have worn and the low prices for goods.  The keeper's desk has an assortment of accessories true to the 1890s, including ink dipping pens and coins and currency of the day. A lighthouse keeper's daily wage of $1.64 is displayed with a silver certificate, a Barber half dollar and dime and Indian head pennies.


Due to the number and age of the students we did not show our educational video about the Fresnel lens, but this 9 minute piece created by a Disney engineer is an excellent science lesson for grade school students. Also due to some of the tiny sized students we did not climb the 138 step tower, but we welcome older students ( anyone at least 44" tall!) to be part of a group climb.

All of the students thoroughly enjoyed swarming the decks of our 70 ft wooden playground ship, complete with ropes, ladders and slides. The Crooked River Lighthouse has a lot to offer as a wonderful field trip destination, with history and science education, the lighthouse itself, and fun playground features. We are currently developing a new science program through Florida State University's Science on the Move Program. Our standard fee for group visits is $1. per student; facilitators and chaperones are free.

Posted Friday, 03/11/11, 08:33 AM - Comments - Category: News

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