The United States Lighthouse Society can make speakers available on a wide variety of lighthouse subjects. Whether you need a general introduction to lighthouses or a detailed technical essay on Fresnel lenses, our goal is to assist you with the type of speaker you need for your event. We can also provide photographs, drawings, etc. covering many lighthouse subjects.

Our speakers have made presentations across the country at a great variety of lighthouse events such as: the Maritime Heritage Conferences, regional lighthouse association meetings, libraries, colleges, the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance meetings, lighthouse transfer ceremonies, and more.

If your organization is holding an event where a lighthouse presentation would be appropriate please contact our Society and we will endeavor to assist you in finding a speaker.

Contact us at:

Below are our presenters who can speak on a variety of topics.


Wayne Wheeler

In 1984 Wayne founded the U. S. Lighthouse Society, a national nonprofit society focusing on history and education with a stress on preservation and is currently the president of our Board of Directors. He is one of the pioneers of the lighthouse preservation movement and one of the foremost experts of lighthouse history in the U.S., and everyone fondly refers to him as the "Head Keep'".  Over the years he has been a member of numerous maritime-related organizations and has presented talks from coast to coast; from Key West, Florida to Block Island, Rhode Island; to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and numerous west coast organizations. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs including National Public Radio, Good Morning America and CBS. Wayne has been written up in most U.S. newspapers as well as Life, Smithsonian, Americana, People and the Syracuse University Alumni magazine. Wayne has taught courses on the History of Lighthouses at the California Academy of Science and the University of North Carolina Asheville Reuter Center.

  • From Bonfires to Satallites - The History of Lighthouses
  • Lighthouses of Antiquity - tracing the general development of lighthouses from the Pharos of Alexandria of Egypt to colonial times with discussions of famous U.S. lighthouses and some international lighthouses like the five Eddystones and Lanterne of Genoa, Italy.
  • The Evolution of the American Lighthouse Service - From 1716 to today and how it has evolved through five distinct periods.
  • The Development of Optics - Candles to modern lenses
  • The Evolution of Illuminants - Open fires to electricity
  • The Keeper's Life in the Golden Age of Lighthouses (1852 to 1939)
  • Lighthouse Architecture
  • History of Sound (fog) Signals
  • Minor Aids to Navigation (shore lights and buoys)
  • Lighthouse Bases and Development of Districts
  • Female Lighthouse Keepers (The Keeper Wore Skirts)
  • Creative Reuse of Light Stations (Preservation of the past 30 years)
  • Oooooops! (mistakes made with location)
  • Lighthouse Lodging

Talks on Lighthouses of various areas:

  • Great Lakes
  • California Coast
  • San Francisco
  • North Carolina
  • Reef Lighthouses of Florida
  • Alaska

Henry Gonzalez

Henry is the Vice President of the U.S. Lighthouse Society and the Chairperson of the Society’s Preservation Grants & Awards Committee as well as the manager of the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, located in the Chesapeake Bay. He has spoken at several national and international lighthouse conferences and can tailor a presentation in the following areas:

  • General lighthouse history
  • Chesapeake Bay lighthouses
  • National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act application and transfer process
  • Planning & Executing Lighthouse Preservation in accordance with “The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties”
  • Lighthouses of Spain
  • The Importance of Proper Preservation Planning before Execution
  • Screwpile & Other Offshore Lighthouses

Ralph Eshelman

Ralph is a U.S. Lighthouse Society Board Member, and has over 30 years of cultural resource experience; much of it related to lighthouse preservation. Ralph was the project director for the team which moved, renovated, and interpreted the 1883 Drum Point Lighthouse, at Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, Maryland, between 1974 and 1977. He also served as historian for several assessment teams which surveyed 31 historic lighthouses located throughout the United States for the Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Land Management in 1995 and 1996.

  • Smoke by Day, Fire by Night: History of Lighthouses        
    This is a fully illustrated talk from the Wonder of the Ancient World's Pharos of Alexandria to modern automated beacons. This lecture can also include examples of lighthouses from any particular state or region of the world from Chesapeake Bay to Antarctica.

Elinor DeWire

Elinor is a U.S. Lighthouse Society Board Member, an author, educator, and a charter member of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.  She has been researching, photographing, lecturing, and writing about lighthouses since 1973. Elinor has published 17 books and numerous articles about lighthouses and related maritime topics. She has been a regular contributor to the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Keeper's Log since it began publication in 1984. She writes a lighthouse blog and also contributes to several lighthouse newsletters.  In the early 1990s she developed a lighthouse unit for her elementary classroom and eventually turned it into a consumable book called The Lighthouse Activity Book for Kids

  • Lighthouses across America
  • Keepers in Skirts: Women Lighthouse Keepers
  • The Lighthouse Menagerie: Animals at Lighthouses