IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to current access restrictions aboard NAS Pensacola, civilians cannot access the Lighthouse on their own. For civilians seeking access, please see our special tour options here.
The Keeper’s Quarters of the Pensacola Light Station was built in 1869, 10 years after the tower was constructed. It was inhabited by Lighthouse Keepers and their families until 1965. Since 1995, it has been used as a museum with an ever-evolving array of exhibits. Read below to learn about our current exhibits!
In 1939, the Bureau of Lighthouses was absorbed by the U.S. Coast Guard. Since then, Lighthouses in the U.S. have had a very close relationship with the Coast Guard. Explore this room to learn more!
History of Illumination
This exhibit covers the evolution of lighthouse illumination techniques, from simple bonfires to Fresnel lenses, as well as the science behind each individual method. On display are numerous replica lenses that demonstrate the functionality of different illumination methods.
The rooms on the eastern side of the Keeper’s Quarters compose our Living History series of exhibits. As you walk through these rooms, you’ll get a taste of what life was like for the residents of the Light Station throughout history.
Women Who Lit the Way
Though the majority of lighthouse keepers were male, many women took up the mantle and kept lighthouses – often receiving the same pay as their male counterparts. Come learn the often untold stories of female lightkeepers, who kept the country’s lights shining, and often saved lives doing so!
This exhibit also tells the stories of the first women in the Coast Guard, the SPARs, who helped paved the way for women in the military today.
Industries of Pensacola
Discover some of what made Pensacola a booming industrial city in the early 20th century.
This exhibit is split into two parts. First, you will descend the stairs into the simulated hull of the USS Constitution, where you’ll learn about Pensacola’s lumber industry and its role in shipbuilding. Then, proceed into a likeness of a downtown Pensacola fishing warehouse, and learn about the fishing industry through the perspective of a local fisherman.
Step into our historic Oil Shed – the property’s original! Built in 1892, this structure was used to store barrels of kerosene that were used to fuel the lighthouse's lamp. Now a walk-in exhibit, the oil shed tells the story of Pensacola’s yellow fever epidemics, and discusses modern parallels.
Relax in our newest addition to the museum, the Reading Room. Take a seat and flip through reference books, novels, magazines, and more. In our kids corner, our younger guests can take a moment to sit and read as well!