Lighthouse History and Traditions
On the waterfront of Rockland, Maine, an extensive collection of lighthouse-related artifacts was opened to the public in June 2005. Founded by the late Chief Warrant Officer Ken Black, U.S. Coast Guard, the Maine Lighthouse Museum features the finest collection of Fresnel lenses on public exhibit in the country.
The museum's name reflects location more than the scope of its exhibits, which cover lighthouses and their related technology, as well as the history of the organizations that ran them. Included are more than a dozen Fresnel lenses of various sizes, and lighthouse lighting equipment from candles to solar-powered light-emitting diodes. The museum includes exhibits on all types of lighted navigation aids: lighthouses, lightships, beacons, and buoys.
The exhibit emphasizes the importance of these lighted aids, recalling the time when most of the nation's commerce moved by water along our coastlines, bays, rivers, and lakes. Displays cover the history of U.S. lighthouse administration, first by the Treasury Department, then the Department of Commerce, and, after 1939, the Coast Guard.