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Permanent Exhibition

Wall of Lights

As visitors enter the doors of the National Lighthouse Museum, the first thing they see is a large lighthouse-shaped structure: the Wall of Lights. More than 180 lighthouse models from 29 states are displayed around the exterior. See a full list here.


Purpose of Lighthouses: Safety and Economic Development

An introductory panel that highlights the essential purpose of lighthouses: To ensure navigational and life safety, and to aid in economic development, as set out by the Lighthouses Act of 1789.


Illuminants and Optics

Illuminants shows the range of light sources used as navigational aids throughout history, from candles to electric light. Optics introduces visitors to Augustin Fresnel, interprets his development of the Fresnel lens, and explains how it works. The display of two fifth-order Fresnel lenses gives visitors the opportunity to view these beautiful objects up close.


Life at the Light

Life-sized images, and personal stories of featured keepers, such as Kate Walker and Charles Vanderhoop, Sr., create up-close and intimate encounters with the people whose character embodied the dedication, perseverance, and resilience of these remarkable individuals in the “lonely life.”


Lighthouse Timeline

A detailed, illustrated graphic timeline traces the world history of lighthouses from the Pharos Light in Alexandria, Egypt (280 BCE) to the establishment of the National Lighthouse Museum (2015).


US Lighthouse Services Depot History

An in-depth interpretation of the history of this site and its vital importance as the national USLHS depot from 1864-1939. This exhibit includes displays of objects that were made or inspected onsite.


Nantucket to New Jersey: Navigating New York Harbor

A large navigation chart marked with the local lighthouses of New York harbor.


Flexible Exhibits

Distributed throughout the space, a series of four double-sided, exhibition panels present a number of Lighthouse-related topics such as:

Daymarks: Lighthouses During the Day

Architecture: Building on the Edge of the World

Equipment: Sound Signals

The Lighthouse Service Afloat: Tenders & Lightships

US Life-Saving Service: Lifelines

USLHS to USCG: Lighthouses Join the Coast Guard

Did You Know? Lighthouse Facts

Popular Culture: Everyone Loves Lighthouse

Museum Hours:

Tuesday through Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Always closed on Mondays and holidays

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