The new Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine, recently underwent its second major move in less than two years.
Two years ago, the amazing collection of lighthouse artifacts amassed by the lifetime work of Ken Black was boxed up and moved from the old Shore Village Museum to the its new home on the Rockland waterfront. However, because renovations at the new location were not completed on time, due to a lack of funds, the museum opened in a temporary space in the new building with only a small selection of the artifacts on display. A Grand Opening celebration was held and the temporary exhibits constituted the museums display for last season.
However, during the early spring of the year the museum was closed and the artifacts including rare lenses were moved into the newly completed larger part of the building in the now dedicated CWO Kenneth Black Exhibition Hall.
The move was a painstaking and backbreaking effort, which was only
made possible by the dedication of a combination of many people. However the delicate work of moving and assembling the various rare Fresnel lens, including the giant second order lens from Petit Manan Lighthouse went to the experts Joseph Cocking of the Lighthouse Lamp Shop of Orange Park, Florida and Nicholas Johnston of Carolina Lighthouse Lens Works of China Grove, NC.
The lighthouse lens experts were responsible for salvaging the remains of rare lenses in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and on their way to Maine had stopped off in Rhode Island to repair the lens at Block Island's North Light. Between them, Cocking and Johnston have worked on more than 100 lighthouses throughout North America as well as Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The two met while they were stationed together in the United States Coast Guard. When they left the Coast Guard they decided to start their own business from the trade they learned in the service. They are among just a few people who have the training and expertise to restore rare lenses.
The final phase and dedication of the CWO Kenneth Black Exhibition Hall as the Maine Lighthouse Museum took place on June 17 as we went to press and photos of the ceremony will appear in next month's issue.
This story appeared in the
July 2006 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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