NOTICE TO GUESTS: We are located on Naval Air Station Pensacola. NAS Pensacola is currently open only to current DoD ID card holders and certain Veterans Health Identification Card holders. Unless sponsored through the Trusted Traveler program, no civilians will be granted access onto the base until further notice, and thus will not be able to access the Lighthouse.
PLEASE NOTE: For those who are granted access onto NAS, the gift shop and lighthouse tower are open. However, the Keeper's Quarters will remain closed until further notice. This means that there are no restrooms or water fountains available to guests. Please plan your visits accordingly. Guests will be required to bring their own masks and wear them at all times while on the premises. Please also supply your own hand sanitizer if desired. Read on-site signage for social distancing requirements.
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!