St. Simons Island, Georgia
The St. Simons Lighthouse and Keeper’s Dwelling were built in 1868-1872, replacing an earlier light station destroyed during the American Civil War. The tapering brick tower still serves as an Active Aid to Navigation and houses the original third-order Fresnel lens. Designed and manufactured in France, the lens casts its beam 23 miles out to sea. The Dwelling was home to lighthouse keepers and their families until the light was automated in the mid-1950s. In1975, the Dwelling became a museum of coastal history, operated by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society.
The Coastal Georgia Historical Society also manages the nearby World War II Homefront Museum where you can discover Coastal Georgia’s extraordinary contributions to winning World War II. Test your skills as a plane spotter watching the skies for enemy aircraft. Train to direct fighter pilots like the officers at Naval Air Station St. Simons. Build a Liberty ship to transport critical supplies to troops overseas. Experience all this and more in the immersive galleries and interactives at the World War II Home Front Museum. The Museum is housed in the Historic St. Simons Coast Guard Station, built in 1936. Step back to April 8, 1942 when the crew from this station rescued survivors of two American ships torpedoed by a German U-boat 13 miles off St. Simons Island. Visitors of all ages will be inspired by the stories of ordinary Americans doing their part to win the war.
COVID-19 severely impacted the organization as the museum sites were closed to the public for several months, with lost revenue from admissions, gift shop sales, event rentals, and special events. Reopening requires additional unplanned safety costs and staffing.
The annual in-person Chautauqua Lecture Series was postponed this year due to COVID-19. Alternate virtual learning has been scheduled.
The organization is also spearheading the development and branding of a World War II Heritage Trail in Georgia, with eight museums collaborating to tell the story of the state's role in the homefront campaign to win the war.