Maine MuseumProgress

Good news: The Maine Lighthouse Museum has a new extension agreement with the Coast Guard and the City of Rockland for the artifacts on loan to the waterfront museum.

There will be a full inventory of the artifacts in the springtime, after which the museum hopes to sign a more long-term agreement that would continue the loan of the lenses and other items gathered by the late Ken Black. The agreements are a major and critically needed step for the museum, which houses the largest publicly-displayed collection of lenses and lamps in the United States. While the museum itself owns many artifacts, the loaned items are a significant part of its displays.

The museum still has financial needs, though. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Maine Lighthouse Museum, P.O. Box 1116, Rockland ME 04841. You can also donate online at the museum’s web site.

Another Maine SOS ….

The financial plight of the Maine Lighthouse Museum grows ever more desperate, and its directors are throwing out another lifeline.

In an appeal marked urgent, which some in the community already may have received, MLM pleads for emergency donations to help meet mandatory museum payments. The museum has set up a crowd-funding account on GoFundMe to accept donations, and asks everyone to ask their family and friends to visit and donate as well.

If you are sympathetic and want to help, go to http//www.gofundme.com/savethemlm and donate what you can. Of course, they’re also on Facebook and at mainelighthousemuseum.org .

Checks also are welcome at Maine Lighthouse Museum, P.O. Box 1116, Rockland, ME 04841.

We’re posting this again because it seems the situation is deteriorating, and even though this is a tourism draw beneficial to the state and local economies it doesn’t seem there’s any political support for state or maybe even local aid. It’s heartbreaking to see so little appreciation for the country’s leading collection of lighthouse artifacts, but there it is. Museum officials say the only way they’ll make it to their 10th anniversary in the waterfront location on June 25 is with a lot of donor help.

-mike vogel

Maine Lighthouse Museum needs help!

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.

-mike vogel

The USLHS web site redesign goes online, with grant program

After months of hard work by a U.S. Lighthouse Society design team, the new USLHS web site went live late yesterday. You owe it to yourself to check it out, because it’s as comprehensive a lighthouse site as we’re likely to see. And, it’s important to note, it also rolls out the USLHS preservation grants program.

It’s at www.uslhs.org , the same address as the old site design it replaces.

As a board member and one of the beta testers, I had a glimpse of just how much work went into this revamping of the Society’s internet presence. That workload was amazing, and the site reflects that.

The grants program accessed through the site will start out modestly and build as the fund behind it grows and more investment interest is available for distribution. But if you have a project in need of funding this season, check this out — the first step is a simple letter of interest, and the forms and deadlines now are online.

There’s also a ton of data, photographs and drawings now accessible on the site, and that too will grow. Team members tell me there will be some tweaking still ahead, so suggestions and comments would be helpful.

Here at the Dire Straits Lighthouse, it’s a little difficult to surf the web without electricity. Luckily, the Coast Guard left behind an old generator, and we got it to turning by hooking up a little wheel and caging a couple of Dire Straits squirrels in there. We get a bumper crop of lighthouse nuts at the station each year, so finding the rewards to keep them running isn’t a problem. And that’s the news from Dire Straits . . .

-mike vogel