Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2016

New Flag Exhibit at Twin Lights

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The Twin Lights Museum, located at the National Historic Landmark lighthouse in Highlands, New Jersey that draws more than 75,000 visitors a year, has reopened after a top-to-bottom renovation and the installation of a new exhibit entitled “Seeing Stars: Every Flag Tells a Story.”  

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Aerial view of the Twin Lights of Navesink Light ...
Photo by: Tom McGuire

The Seeing Stars exhibit tells the story of the United States through its flags, and celebrates the spring day in April 25, 1893, when the Pledge of Allegiance was given as the national oath of loyalty for the first time during a ceremony in front of the lighthouse. Seeing Stars illustrates how the flag has changed with the expansion of our country, how it has pulled America through war and conflict, and how it has provided a symbol for resolve, response, and recovery.  

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The re-imagined Twin Lights Museum features four separate galleries with $2 million worth of antique flags and patriotic artifacts dating back two centuries. State-of-the-art lighting and multiple video screens provide an immersive experience.  

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Archival photo of the USS New Jersey (BB-62) ...

“This was a true collaboration of a group of diverse volunteers from various backgrounds and professions who overcame numerous obstacles in order to bring this patriotic exhibit to life,” says Mary Jo Kenny, President of the Twin Lights Historical Society.     

In addition to the 20-plus rare flags on display are two important paintings and two stunning examples of American folk art. The Twin Lights Museum is the new (temporary) home of the painting “September 11th” by noted artist Jamie Wyeth—who was inspired to create the mixed-media work after visiting the World Trade Center site after 9/11. Also on display is “Our Banner in the Sky,” an iconic painting by Frederic Church, done in the early days of the Civil War. The Seeing Stars exhibit features a painted four-foot figure of Uncle Sam made for the 1876 Centennial, and an exquisite eagle carved by John Haley Bellamy, whose works have sold at auction for more than a half-million dollars.  

Major artifact contributors to the exhibit are Dr. Peter Keim of Texas and Richard Pierce of New Jersey, both noted authors, historians, and collectors. Other key contributors include the Monmouth County Historical Association, Monmouth University, and several private collectors.  

Seeing Stars at the Twin Lights Museum will run through the fall of 2016. The exhibit is open Wednesday through Sunday all winter. It is expected to increase attendance at the lighthouse by an estimated 40,000 visitors during that time. This will pump as much as one million additional dollars into the local economy, which is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  

For more information on the new Seeing Stars exhibit, log onto www.twinlightslighthouse.com or call the Twin Lights at (732) 872-1814.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2016 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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