National Lighthouse Museum Chronology

21-22 MAR 1997 – Representatives from the major lighthouse preservation groups in the United States hold a retreat to discuss the feasibility of a National Lighthouse Center and Museum. Additional meetings were held October, 1997, March, July and October 1998

1 JUN 1997 – National Lighthouse Center and Museum Steering Committee announce in a news release “Request for Expression of Interest” with desired “criteria” for the establishment of a National Lighthouse Museum. The news release was sent to all lighthouse preservation organizations in the United States, placed on the INTERNET through the National Park Service’s National Maritime Initiative, distributed to the Associated Press, all State Historic Preservation Offices in states with lighthouses and the National Trust for Historic Preservation which placed the release in their Forum Journal and Newsletter. Articles about the site selection process were published in the Boston Globe, Soundings, Fire Island Light, Bulletin of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, and Beacon, among others.

1 SEP 1997 – Deadline for receipt of “expressions of interest.” Ten formal “expressions of interest” and four informal or incomplete submissions were received. The completed submissions were from: City of Havre de Grace, MD; Town of Gay Head, MA; Town of Hull, MA; New Bedford, MA; City of Ludington, MI; Mackinaw Area Historical Society, MI; New York Harbor Lights (Staten Island), NY; Salmon River Lighthouse, Inc. NY; Saugerties Waterfront Project Team, NY; and Town of Narragansett, RI. After the deadline New London, CT. and Rockland, ME submitted submissions, which after much dispute were allowed to be included in the evaluation process. Based on a weighted criteria score, six of the above were selected for site visits: Hull, Mackinaw, New London, Narragansett, Rockland and Staten Island.

18 MAR 1998 – “Adaptive Reuse Proposal and Cost Analysis Former U.S. Third District Lighthouse Depot” completed by Pokorny Associates, Inc. et. al. Work contracted under New York City Economic Development Corporation.

27 MAR 1998 – Several Steering Committee members met with Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari. The Staten Island group obtains a commitment of $1.2 million from discretionary funds of the Borough President, and $3.8 million from City and State funds.

21 AUG 1998 – The National Lighthouse Center and Museum produce “U.S. Lighthouse Depot, St. George, Staten Island, National Lighthouse Center & Museum: The Winning Plan.” The plan includes the entire depot property with an estimated capital cost of $17.67 million.

OCT 1998 – Staten Island unanimously voted as the home of the National Lighthouse Center and Museum. The Steering Committee disbanded having concluded its work. The American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee /ALCC established to continue cooperation between lighthouse preservation organizations and to foster preservation of lighthouses.

2000 – The National Lighthouse Center and Museum produce “National Lighthouse Center & Museum: The Site & The Buildings; Past, Present & Future

SEP 2002 – Lewis P. Johnson hired as Executive Director of the National Lighthouse Museum. Under his leadership an exhibit plan for the Machine Shop was developed and an educational bus acquired and used for museum outreach programs.

20 JAN 2003 – 100% construction documents for Phase 2 Building No. 11 interior build out/ site utilities upgrade completed by Pokorny Associates, Inc. et. al. Work contracted under New York City Economic Development Corporation.

JAN 2005 – Jerry Roberts becomes Executive Director.

SEP 2005 – New York City Economic Development Corporation requests proposals for development of the depot site.

04 OCT 2006 – Staten Island Advance publishes article “Squandering a treasure.” Discusses history of project and lack of progress of the museum and recent zoning issues.

JAN 2007 – Jerry Roberts, Executive Director leaves and new Executive Director Neil Cortell is hired.

14 SEP 2008 – Staten Island Advance publishes article “Lighthouse Museum Board is ready to give up.”

19 SEP 2008 – Lighthouse Action Mobilization Planners (LAMP) group is begun through a grassroots effort of Ron Meisels to establish community support through a petition drive.

18 DEC 2008 – New York City Economic Development Corporation holds a meeting with Staten Island Borough President’s Office, office of Council District 49, and members of the board of the National Lighthouse Museum to update interested parties on the status of the museum project. NLM agreed to provide an updated strategic plan and capital development plan. Little if any work is accomplished.

APR 2009 – New York City Economic Development Corporation selects Triangle Equities Corporation to develop the Staten Island Depot Property. The National Lighthouse Museum is reduced from full development of the historic property to two buildings (Machine Shop, Bldg 11 and Lamp Shop, Bldg. 10).

11 JUN 2009 – Staten Island Advance “Letter to the Editor” publishes article “Death knell for Lighthouse Museum is premature” written by Ron Meisels on behalf of the LAMP group.

12 NOV 2009 – Article appears in Staten Island Advance re: “Leading the Way for a Lighthouse Museum” about Ron Meisels grassroots efforts to keep it open.

19 NOV 2009 – Linda Dianto, Vice President of the Grasmere Civic Association contacts Ron Meisels and they collaborate to begin the formation of the Friends of the National Lighthouse Museum & Waterfront Center.

15 May 2010 – On behalf of the newly established NLM Friends group, Linda Dianto & Frank Ninivaggi make a presentation to the ALCC Executive Board regarding the progress made and request a Letter of Support to maintain the Staten Island site’s “National” status.

5-13 JUN 2010 – The NLM Friends group makes first public appearances on site over two weekends, during ART at the Ferry Festival, receiving positive feedback from community.

JUN 2010 – Department of Education informs the NLM FRIENDS Group that the Museum Charter has expired. Linda Dianto immediately begins the process of petitioning Albany to revive the NLM.

7 JUL 2010 – Eight Board members hold the first meeting signing and notarizing the petition.

9 JUL 2010 – Petition sent to Department of Education to go before Board of Regents in September, 2010.

14 SEP 2010 – NYS Board of Regents approves the provisional Charter of the National Lighthouse Museum for the next five years.

01 JAN 2011 – First fundraising event to raise one million dollars, in one year to open Building #11 by 2012, is held at the home of Linda Dianto.

Winter 2011 – The new team works to restore credibility of the NLM Board in the eyes of the local community, elected officials, maritime historical associations, and within the Lighthouse community. New members sign on, a new website is established, and new brochures are printed and distributed.

NLM gains stature as presentations were made to numerous organizations, clubs, and senior centers; NLM marched in several parades; and was represented at numerous local events & festivals.

The NLM Educational Lecture Series begins with six vibrant maritime topics including Lighthouses on SI; History of the Fresnel Lens; Costa Concordia – Why?; Titanic- 100th Anniversary; The War of 1812 and the Role of the Lighthouse; the Story of the Staten Island Light and the History of the Site.

JUN 2011 – Lighthouse Boat tours are instituted successfully, viewing Lighthouses in the Harbor and New Jersey – becoming a successful fundraising opportunity to sustain the Museum…Several Board members become volunteer lighthouse narrators on the boat tours.

14 JUN 2011 – First Light Keeper’s Gala is celebrated, honoring the memory of Joseph Esposito, keeper of the Staten Island Light, preserver of the Battery Weed/ Fort Wadsworth Light and who identified and researched the NLM site confirming it as the original home of the USLHS; the Sandy Hook Pilots were also honored as the last occupants of the site. Event held at The Vanderbilt on the boardwalk in South Beach.

2-4 AUG 2011 – First weekend in August is established as Lighthouse Weekend – Celebrated with a Baseball Game at the Richmond County Ballpark; a Lecture, site walks, participation in a maritime festival and a lighthouse boat tour.

11 SEP 2011 – NLM successfully hosts “ BEACON: Artists Respond to 9/11 (Curator: Sarah Yuster)” in Bldg. #11

11 DEC 2011 – Successful fundraiser held at the Richmond County Ballpark – honoring the 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.

12 JUN 2012 – Board of Trustees holds Annual Meeting and hires Linda Dianto as NLM Executive Director. Jack Vokral becomes President of the Board of Trustees.

14 JUN 2012 – Second Light Keeper’s Gala held at the Richmond County Country Club, honoring, the USCG’s Aids to Navigation Team – Modern Day Light Keepers; The Staten Island Advance with the “Wind in Our Sails” Award and the memory of Frank Schubert, Keeper of the Coney Island Light for 43 years; last civilian light keeper nationwide, retiring after 66 yrs.

14 JUN 2012 – A Request for Proposals (RFP) for St. George Waterfront Arts & Cultural RFP is issued by NYCEDC, with a deadline for submissions of July 31, 2012.

10 JUL 2012 – Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP) is hired to assist in the filing of the RFP presentation.

4-5 AUG 2012 – Lighthouse Weekend involving site tours; a lecture by Wayne Wheeler, renowned maritime historian, from North Carolina to discuss the NLM site; and a lighthouse boat tour.

25 AUG 2012 – NLM Lighthouse Hunt & Beach Party; co-sponsored with the NYC Parks Department to be held at the Midland Beach and Picnic Grounds with world-famous sand sculptor Matt Long, from the Travel Channel, building a Lighthouse sand sculpture.