The Maine Lighthouse Museum (MLM) in Rockland and the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF), the national leader in lighthouse preservation, have announced a groundbreaking collaboration that has no equal in the annals of contemporary lighthouse history. ALF has become a full partner in the Maine Lighthouse Museum and will be moving its corporate offices to the museum along with its extraordinary artifact collection.
In January 2007 the American Lighthouse Foundation will begin the process of consolidating the organization’s artifact collection from their Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, Maine, with that of the artifact collection at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland. The consolidation of the two priceless collections in Rockland will be completed by late spring.
The collaborative effort brings together two of the nation’s finest exhibits of lighthouse artifacts and forms an unprecedented collection of sparkling classical lenses and lighthouse equipment, as well as rare lightkeeper mementoes and uniforms. In addition, the combined collection will boast some of the most compelling human interest stories and their paralleling artifacts, all of which pay tribute to the dedicated men, women and children who helped keep the lights shining bright along America’s coastlines for over two centuries.
“The merging of the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Museum of Lighthouse History collection into that of the Maine Lighthouse Museum may well be one of the defining moments in modern lighthouse history,” says Timothy Harrison, president of the American Lighthouse Foundation. “The partnership between MLM and ALF will truly make the Maine Lighthouse Museum the largest and most important lighthouse museum in the United States, if not the world.”
Bob Hastings, who will now become the museum’s general manager, stated that “The Maine Lighthouse Museum is a nationally recognized collaborative effort of nine of Maine’s premier non-profit organizations working with the City of Rockland to preserve, display and enhance the nation’s most significant collection of lighthouse and lifesaving artifacts and lenses.”
The consolidation also brings full circle the amazing contributions of Ken Black, founder of the Maine Lighthouse Museum and the individual widely credited for starting the lighthouse preservation movement in the United States, with that of Timothy Harrison, founder of the Museum of Lighthouse History. Mr. Black served as a mentor and friend to Mr. Harrison and was the inspiration behind Harrison’s efforts to create the Museum of Lighthouse History, which houses the largest collection of lightkeeper artifacts in the country.
Ken Black, who is affectionately known as “Mr. Lighthouse” by lighthouse enthusiasts around the country, couldn’t be happier about the museums coming together. According to Black, “This is more than I could have ever imagined. It is very gratifying to know that after so many years of working hard to save America’s lighthouse artifacts
from being lost forever that this commitment will now be carried forward stronger than ever through the combined efforts of MLM
and ALF. Wow!”
Ken’s wife Dot Black shares her husbands enthusiasm, noting “As you can imagine, I have a strong desire to protect Ken’s many contributions to our nation’s lighthouse heritage and therefore I am simply ecstatic that we will have management of the museum by lighthouse enthusiasts who will ensure this legacy is perpetuated for future generations.”
The benefits that the combined museums will offer to the general public are boundless when it comes to teaching Americans about the history of our nation’s lighthouses and their keepers, as well as conserving these timeless treasures for the future. “It’s a win-win for both organizations, allowing for both MLM and ALF to be a leader in the education of future generations on our lighthouse history and lighthouse preservation, not just of Maine’s lighthouses but all of America’s lighthouses,” said Harrison. “This partnership will truly make MLM America’s lighthouse museum.”
The collaboration between MLM and ALF will not only preserve countless lighthouse artifacts collected from around the country, but it will also lend a mighty helping hand to the American Lighthouse Foundation’s respected preservation efforts. The organization presently has 23 historic lighthouses under its stewardship, stretching from Connecticut to Maine, which the group is actively working to restore and maintain.
“The consolidation of the two lighthouse museums is not only exciting for artifact conservation, but also for lighthouse preservation — and at a time when it is needed most throughout the nation,” says Bob Trapani, Jr., executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation.
In addition to his duties as executive director for ALF,
Trapani has been appointed the new director of the Maine Lighthouse Museum and will oversee both the day-to-day operations and consolidated collections.
Trapani went on to note, “This effort will provide the public at large with a one-of-a-kind opportunity as MLM and ALF bring together the very best in historic lighthouses, priceless artifacts and unmatched camaraderie and energy that will foster a stronger and broader interest nationwide in safeguarding every aspect of America’s rich lighthouse heritage. You might say that the consolidated museums will serve as the “nutritional” aspect for lighthouse preservation, as the immense educational benefits derived from the effort will help ALF’s mission of preservation to grow stronger well into the future.”
To learn more about the Maine Lighthouse Museum,
visit www.mainelighthousemuseum.com or call (207) 594-3301 to learn more about the American Lighthouse Foundation, visit www.LighthouseFoundation.org or call (207) 646-0245.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2007 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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