Aug 252017

Thanks to $70,000 in funding from a Monroe County Tourist Development Council brick and mortar grant and in-kind contributions from Monroe County’s Project Management Department, the iconic Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum will soon welcome visitors through a newly renovated admissions entrance.

Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum, one of the most highly visited historic locations in Key West, is getting much-needed renovations to its admission area thanks to $70,000 in funding from a Monroe County Tourist Development Council’s brick and mortar grant and in-kind contributions from Monroe County’s Project Management Department. The project, which started July 5 of this year, will run through early October— without impacting the museum’s operations and allowing them to remain open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

“The Society wants to ensure a positive visitor experience for all of our guests,” says Executive Director Michael Gieda. “Given the volume of people visiting the location, we often have long queues for entering the property. This project will result in better access for all Lighthouse visitors.

Until now, guest admissions have been conducted via the museum gift store entrance and retail counter. The renovations and enhancements will separate admissions from the museum store with the creation of a dedicated entrance to the property. When completed, guests will enter through the new entrance and exit through the Museum Store.

Key West Art & Historical Society Executive Director Michael Gieda, left, and Operations Manager Shawn Cowles stand next to a construction area that will soon be the admissions entrance to the Key West Lighthouse. The two are framed between a “Fourth Order” bullseye Lens on the left and a “First Order” Fresnel lens on the right. Manufactured by Henry La Paute of Paris and purchased for $20,000, the 12’ x 6’ First Order lens was installed at the Sombrero Key Lighthouse from 1858 until 1984. By installing bullseyes at the focal point of a Fresnel lens, the light source was able to be better concentrated, while also producing a flash when the lens was rotated.

The capitol project is one of many in the Florida Keys supported by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, which derives their funding from the “Heads in Beds” tax (4% of the 12.5% charged to visitors for lodging accommodations in the Florida Keys), allowing for much of the island’s necessary preservation and restoration work to occur. The 169-year-old structure, owned by Monroe County and operated by Key West Art & Historical Society, underwent 6 weeks of much-needed renovations in late 2015, with the $665,800.00 price tag funded in large part by the Tourist Development Council.

“We depend on and are grateful for this TDC funding support, which ensures the on-going preservation of the three historic sites (Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters, Custom House, and Fort East Martello) in which The Society currently manages,” says Gieda.

On average, the Lighthouse receives 100,000 visitors per year, not including the many special events held there by The Society and other organizations, and serves as the beacon of Key West’s maritime history.

It also serves as a reminder that The Society, since 1949, has been dedicated to the preservation of our community’s most significant historic structures and landmarks.

For more information on Key West Lighthouse and the Keeper’s Quarters Museum, visit KWAHS.ORG, call 305.294.0012, or stop by 938 Whitehead Street during museum hours, 9:30-4:30, every day except for Christmas. Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.

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 August 25, 2017  Posted by at 12:18 am Issue #233, News, Special Event  Add comments

  One Response to “Monroe County Tourist Development Council Supports Preservation and Enhancements of Key West Lighthouse”

  1. My wife loves lighthouses and been to this one several times. Sadly we are getting too old to handle walking to the top.

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