As I’ve said before, there is immense progress being made in saving lighthouses and their history. But, as I’ve also said many times before we are also losing lighthouses and the history associated with them.
The biggest problem is what I will call “fragmentation” in the lighthouse community.
What I mean by fragmentation is that there are many different lighthouse groups in the United States and around the nation, each with their own agenda. Many of these groups do not look at or think about the larger picture of saving all of our lighthouses and sharing all the historical information and knowledge that many of them have with others.
Most of the lighthouse groups have their own newsletter to promote and tell their members what they are doing. This, as it should, keeps their members informed of where their donations are being spent. This is good. Many groups have done in-depth research on the lighthouse or lighthouses they are trying to save. This is also good. However, many of these groups have not shared that information with either Lighthouse Digest, where the story and old photos could be shared with thousands of other lighthouse aficionados or with the American Lighthouse Foundation to keep in its archives to be saved for future generations and for possible use in displays in the Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, Maine. It would be beneficial to have it at the American Lighthouse Foundation as a back up in case of fire, flood or other catastrophe on the local level.
Some groups have even started publishing stories from the research of their members; stories that have nothing to do with their group or the lighthouse they are trying to save. While this makes them look good to their individual group, their research, work and story only reach a small fragment of the lighthouse community. Instead, they could have shared this research with a larger part of the lighthouse community through Lighthouse Digest.
Some members of some lighthouse groups refuse to even attend events of other lighthouse groups.
Most lighthouse groups are hurting for money. Yet for years, Lighthouse Digest has offered to pay a commission to lighthouse groups to sell subscriptions to Lighthouse Digest. Most do not and I’ll never understand why. In fact, some lighthouse groups expect us to send them free magazines.
Lighthouse Digest exists solely to help save, promote and serve lighthouses. A fragmented lighthouse community slows down everyone’s goals of promoting lighthouses to a wider spectrum of people, which in turn, hurts the entire lighthouse community.
There is strength in numbers and strength will help save lighthouses and their history. It’s time to put a stop to fragmentation.
This story appeared in the
November 2004 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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