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  • Muriel Smith

Twin Lights officially reopens


There is so much great and exciting news at the Twin Lights Museum this week that it’s hard to contain it in a single article.





Best to say, for certain, the Twin Lights Museum offers something for everyone.


First of all, we all excited that the Museum is now open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there are so many new and exciting exhibits you could easily spend the best part of that time just enjoying them all, together with a stroll around the grounds.


The grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and what better way to catch cool breezes on these very hot days than at the top of the hill overlooking the ocean from this very historic site.


But for the youngsters, the athletic, the older visitors who want to prove they can do it, not only is there one Tower to climb, but now visitors can go up the stairs of both the North and South Towers! The museum and grounds are free to enjoy, and to climb both of the Towers, it is $5 per adult and $2 per child ten years and under. Small price to pay for boasting you’ve climbed two towers in a day, even each tower twice or more if you really want to! And the good news is all the funds go towards keeping the magnificent museums open and the historic lighthouse in optimum condition.


Actually, with so much to see, so much to remember, and so much to enjoy at the Twin Lights, the best idea might be to take advantage of a private tour to get oriented and learn lots of fascinating little tidbits about the lighthouse keepers, the events that have taken place there, and the importance of the Twin Lights in the history of the nation. New Jersey State Parks Historian, Nick Wood, is offering tours at $12 an adult, and with no charge for youngsters with an adult, it’s the perfect time to share a great experience with your son or daughter. Nick is a New Jersey State Parks historian so well versed on everything about the Twin Lights it’s a delight to have him here. He’s researched some of the fascinating people who have been part of the lighthouse and its preservation and is delightful in telling their stories. Ask about Essie Bolster, the very gracious and historically driver Highlands resident from the middle of the 20th century who fought hard and successfully to preserve the lighthouse. Then ask him about the Pledge of Allegiance because so few people know that the Twin Lights is the place the Pledge was dedicated in celebration of the opening of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He’ll tell you about the huge American flag that was soaring over the tower as well. Visiting over the July 4 Independence Day celebrations might just be the best time to get a special chill from the stories of patriotism that are alive and well on the hill.


But let’s get to the new exhibits for a second. You’ll love the Navigation Exhibit in the foyer of the South Tower. You’ll get an up close view as well as an explanation and even written directions on how a sextant and chronometer were used. There’s also a fantastic wall display of all the navigational waterways around the area, with an interactive board so you can pinpoint exactly where you are in the Atlantic, just like mariners once did.


The Auditorium is open for small scale meetings, as well as private parties or private events, but every day it’s a fascinating room to visit. There are great exhibits on local residents from a variety of fields of interest, and their connection with the Twin Lights. You’ll see Blub Parker, a Highlands clammer who was pretty active in Prohibition; Trudy Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel and gained fame for that in the 1920s, but she really learned to swim in the Shrewsbury River just below the Twin Lights close to the Highlands Bridge. You’ll learn more about the Sandlass Family and their wonderful amusement park on the other side of the bridge; the museum even has some items from the park on exhibit, along with the stories that make them special.


And this is only the beginning! If you haven’t ever been to the Twin Lights, exciting, beautiful and historic. If you’ve been there, you need to go back again to see the latest exhibits and sparkling improvements that have been made. And if you’re looking for an unusual gift with a Lighthouse touch, then you have to visit the Museum Store and see the new items on sale, from books to jewelry, as well as hats and shirts. While you are there, thank those volunteers and New Jersey State Parks employees for keeping it open, introducing you to Nick, and ready to provide you with any information you need.


Then look back on this page to learn more about the great new US postage Stamp honoring the Twin Lights that is coming out next month! We’re excited about that, too.