by Courtney Miner
On a warm Floridian Christmas day in 1888, Henry Flagler opened the Alcazar Hotel. Later, the space was bought and transformed by Otto Lightner and became the Lightner Museum in 1947. Today, this magnificent building is filled with both jaw-dropping exhibits and a full, rich history. It is home to some of the most eclectic collections for which a person could ask. From mummies and shrunken heads to historic paintings and Tiffany stained glass, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Even more incredible is the unbelievable quantity of collections. The museum’s compendium is so vast, that even though there are three floors of displays, there is no way for it all to be presented at one time. Inside the previous hotel’s bowling alley and also the worker’s quarters, is a colossal assortment of unseen wonders.
My experiences volunteering at this museum have been incredible, with my duties being as varied as the collections themselves. I have primarily dedicated myself to three major docent duties: working the front desk, working the gift shop, and working the floors as a docent. However, I have also had the amazing opportunity to work some of the museum-hosted evening events. My absolute favorite of all these was Fashion Week. One of my responsibilities was watching over the models as they got ready for the event. I made sure that they were taken care of and directed them to all of their different prep rooms. I was also responsible for manning the doors and directing guest foot traffic. I made sure that restricted areas were protected and that guests found the cocktail area easily and safely. I know, that doesn’t sound very exciting. So why was this event my overall favorite? Because of the fashion of course! After the show had started, I relocated to the museum’s Ballroom floor on the third level where I was able to watch the entire show from a bird’s eye view. The mixture of modern couture fashion placed up against a vintage classical backdrop made for a very engaging and eye catching runway. Although from entirely different time periods, both aspects worked to showcase the other’s unique, defining features. This eclectic-ness serves as a perfect representation of what the Lightner Museum is all about.