Barnegat Light Historical Society and Museum
About the Museum
The museum is in the building that was the one-room school for Barnegat Light from 1903 to 1954.The museum is on the National Register of Historical Places. The museum features artifacts, replicas and photographs depicting the history of Barnegat Light and Long Beach Island.
One of the major features in the museum is the First Order Flashing Lens from the Barnegat Light Lighthouse, build by the French Physicist Augustin Fresnel. It was capable of throwing its light 20 miles or more to the horizon. Construction of the present lighthouse began in 1857 and was completed in 1858. The lens was removed in 1927 when the Barnegat Lightship took up station off Barnegat Inlet. The lens was sent to the Tompkinsville Lighthouse Depot on Staten Island, New York. In 1954, the lens was returned to the town of Barnegat Light and now is on exhibit in the museum.
A number of artifacts and replicas depict the fishing industry that in the past, and even today is an important part of the island's economy. The replica of a Pound Fishing Net shown here depicts a fishing method used from the 1880's to 1955 when fish were much more plentiful then today. A number these were placed offshore. The vertical poles of the actual sized corral were about 80 feet long. Fishermen would row out periodically to retrieve the trapped fish.
From late 1800's to the present, tourism has been an important part part of island life. Barnegat Light was the site of two major hotels during the turn of the century: the Oceanic and the Sunset The Oceanic washed away in 1919 and the Sunset burned down in 1932. Look for furniture from the Oceanic and pictures of the hotels during their heyday.
Take time to browse through the extensive set of photographs in the museum depicting the history of Barnegat Light and it's landmark buildings.