First the bad news — the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland sustained some significant damage this harsh winter, when a pipe burst at about 4 a.m. on a cold January day.
The good news — the extensive lighthouse collection wasn’t harmed. The museum shares a waterfront building with a couple other entities including the Rockland Police Department, and the police officers on duty that night heard the running water and checked it out. The museum’s damage involved walls, ceilings and stuff in a flooded conference room and the artifact preparation and storage area, and the items from those areas were moved out to dry.
It has been a bad winter in the northeast, and damage to a major lighthouse community museum just makes it worse. As I write this, Maine is getting yet another storm. When someone from Buffalo starts feeling sympathetic toward other areas getting a lot of cold and snow, you know it can’t be good.
Insurance should cover some but not all of the damage, according to Paul Conlin and others at the museum. But the accident exposed a vulnerability that the museum is trying to correct before history repeats itself (and I mean that in a bad way). There’s a complicated joint ownership arrangement for the building but the museum has a mortgage on its part and it really needs to fix the damage and replace the 1960s boiler at the heart of the heating and cooling system. This is going to be tough, as the museum already is financially strapped and has been for some time.
Donations would be welcome (Lighthouse Digest is launching an appeal), and I’m sure ideas would be appreciated as well. The need, MLM leaders say, is urgent.
Here’s the contact info: Maine Lighthouse Museum, P.O. Box 1116, Rockland ME 04841.
Here at the American Lighthouse Council, we’ve taken to signing off from our mythical Dire Straits Lighthouse. But it kind of looks like Rockland may be in the same location these days, and the folks there could use some help keeping Ken Black’s dream alive. We’re all rooting for the National Lighthouse Museum to take root and thrive, but right now the Maine Lighthouse Museum is the best free-standing museum there is and it needs to raise a couple thousand bucks to stay warm and dry in what has become a long, cold winter — and for years of winters yet to come.