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Lights Could Go Out At Maine Lighthouse Museum

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Postby Paul » Wed May 13, 2009 8:17 pm


Lights Could Go Out At Maine Lighthouse Museum


From: MaineBusiness.com
Released 5/13/09


America’s largest lighthouse museum, The Maine Lighthouse Museum, in Rockland, Maine, is in financial trouble and may have to close its doors unless immediate financial help is received.

Dot Black, a Board member of the Maine Lighthouse Museum and the widow of the museum’s founder, Ken Black, reported that “unless more financial help is forthcoming soon, the lights may go out in the largest and most important lighthouse museum in the nation.

The museum has its roots to Maritime Exhibit at the Rockland Coast Guard Station created by CWO Kenneth Black in 1972. Black, was appointed curator for First Coast Guard District and when the exhibit outgrew its location it was moved into the Shore Village Museum building owned by the City of Rockland. Finally in 2005 thanks to the concerted efforts of many community businesses and friends the growing collection moved to the old and restored Courier Newspaper building on the city’s waterfront. At that time it had the largest collection of rare lighthouse lenses of any museum in the nation. In 2007 the Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, merged its impressive collection with the Maine Lighthouse Museum making it the largest lighthouse museum in the United States.

As with any museum, the educational, operational and curatorial aspects require capital. The museum relies primarily on membership dues, admission fees, individual contributions, and fund-raising events, all of which have been lagging lately. Moreover, the museum is not supported by any grants.

Although the museum directors and volunteers have already taken initial steps to reduce its budget and seek additional sources of revenue, an immediate influx of cash donations is needed at once to keep the doors of the facility open. A special committee of local citizens has been formed to help in this effort. Committee member, Ed Komolsky, pointed out that “unless the community and those nationally that have an interest in lighthouses and maritime history rally to save this gem, we may lose it.” Nearly two decades ago, Komolsky and a number of others in the local area rallied to save and reinvigorate the Maine Lobster Festival to the leading event it is today. According to Dot Black and others, a similar effort, both locally and nationally, is needed to preserve and grow the Maine Lighthouse Museum today.

Click on the following link for the full story:


http://tinyurl.com/py3qm3

Please Help!

The Maine Lighthouse Museum is a non-profit historical and educational organization and much needed donations and offers of help can be sent to them at: One Park Drive, P.O. Box 1116, Rockland, ME 04841. 207-594-3301. For more information about the museum, you can call them at 207-594-3302 or visit their website at http://www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.com.


My best,
Paul Conlin
Help Keep Ken Black's Dream Alive
Join or Make a Donation Today!

Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park Drive P.O. Box 1116
Rockland, Maine 04841

(207) 594-3301

www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org
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Postby wheland » Thu May 14, 2009 6:31 am


I've cut back on my donations to things but I just got a membership for this one.

It's important for this museum to be available to all.

Dennis
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Postby Grover1 » Thu May 14, 2009 12:55 pm


In a grand sense, this museum needs to survive ... as a resource, as a destination, as a legacy ... In a much more narrow, a much more personal sense, at this point in time there is little I am going to be able to do to help sustain it.
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Postby ericlighthouse » Sun May 24, 2009 1:18 am


The FLA (Florida Lighthouse Association) has voted to send $200.00 to help.
Now if every lighthouse group sent some donation, I sure that would help a lot.
President of Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation, Godfather of Jones Point River Lighthouse, member and EVP of Florida Lighthouse Association and member of other lighthouse groups.
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Postby Paul » Sun May 24, 2009 6:08 am


Now if every lighthouse group sent some donation, I'm sure that would help a lot.


Eric - That would be great! In this economy we all need the support of our friends in the lighthouse community! We can't let Ken Black's dream die.

Please be sure to thank the members of the Florida Lighthouse Association for their generous donation! :yay: I know Dot appreciates every contribution that people make to keep the museum up and running!

My best, :D
Paul Conlin
Help Keep Ken Black's Dream Alive
Join or Make a Donation Today!

Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park Drive P.O. Box 1116
Rockland, Maine 04841

(207) 594-3301

www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org
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Postby LighthouseNews » Sun May 24, 2009 6:47 am


Eric, that is so kind of your group. Thank you.

I do have to say, though, that the museum could do a little more. I'm a member, so I get to complain. :wink:

They are only open three days a week, and not even this holiday weekend. I was there yesterday (Saturday of Memorial Day weekend) to purchase some stuff from the store, and guess what? The store was closed. Again. The museum was also closed for a wedding being held that late afternoon/evening. While I was there, several people came in asking to visit the museum and were told, sorry. We'll open on Monday for the holiday, but the people were going to be gone by then.

When the museum first opened, they had wonderful programs there on a monthly basis, with guest speakers. Those were ended after a while. I've had several people mention they'd love to see those types of things, and they ought to bring them back, with a small charge. People would pay $5 or so for something like that.

There needs to be more of a reaching out to businesses, i.e. corporate sponsors. The company I work for has always been generous to them, donating thousands and providing space on company property for a sign for them (and Farnsworth and Owl's Head Transportation Museums).

I do not recall any fundraisers being held, and am not even sure if any grants have been sought. They need to do some big time marketing, perhaps with Maine Eastern Railroad, which has a lot of packages that could be put together. One of their board members is (or maybe was, I couldn't make the annual meeting last week due to work), the director of marketing for the railroad.

Another part of the problem is there isn't really any focused leadership. While the titular head is a dedicated person, the fingers are into too many pieces of pie besides the museum, including two lighthouses and the American Lighthouse Foundation. All will suffer when that's the case. But on the other hand, it provides a unique opportunity for combining the three to really bring in the visitors (and hence the money).

Unfortunately, they've been relying on memberships, sales at the store and visitors for their operating expenses, and the three won't suffice when the museum and store is closed.

I'd hate to see it close, but I honestly don't know how they can raise the $50,000 needed in such a short space of time without some major effort. It will be a great loss to the lighthouse community, but times were good when they took on the building. Times are not so good right now, but there is still hope.
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Postby Paul » Sun May 24, 2009 2:32 pm


They are only open three days a week


Sue - They have always been open three days a week in the off-season. That is one way they have to cut expenses. The museum only has one paid employee. Everyone else is a volunteer. If you know of anyone who would like to help let them know that volunteers are always needed and welcomed!

Dot Black & I were both at the museum yesterday and many people did come in and make purchases in the gift shop.

Yes, the museum was closed for a wedding, which was held at 5 pm yesterday, an event that brought in more funds than would have been realized if the museum were to remain open, which in the month of May normally closes at 4 pm anyway. I was there as a volunteer to help out with the wedding.

The museum is doing everything it can to raise funds. Much work goes on behind the scenes that isn't always public knowledge. The museum did have three educational workshops this Spring and they would like to hold more of them this year. If you know of anyone who would be willling to help with these workshops please let the museum know. We already have three set up for the fall and Sally Snowman the Keeper of Boston Light came to the museum today and she offered to do a fourth. There are fundraisers being planned and grants have been applied for, but they are not easy to get.

In order for the Maine Lighthouse Museum to remain open they need the help of every member of the museum and the support of the entire lighthouse community. Believe me when I say that Dot Black is not a figurehead, she is the driving force that keeps the museum going. If it were not for Dot's consistent work and dedication at the museum keeping her husband's dream alive, this vital part of Rockland, ME would never have come to fruition.

Paul Conlin
Help Keep Ken Black's Dream Alive
Join or Make a Donation Today!

Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park Drive P.O. Box 1116
Rockland, Maine 04841

(207) 594-3301

www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org
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Postby wheland » Mon May 25, 2009 7:13 am


I've passed this information along to the powers that be at the NJLHS and the proper wheels are turning to consider sending some help.

Nothing definite yet. I'll post when a decision is made.

Dennis
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Postby LighthouseNews » Mon May 25, 2009 8:44 am


Dennis,

Thank you! What a great help. The NJLHS is more than generous as a group. I remember a time several of their members came through Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and left a $200 donation. That was wonderful of them!

And Paul, you've proven my point. Like I said, Dot is a dedicated person, but there's only so much of her to go around. And I don't consider the time from Mothers Day onwards to be "off season." And certainly not Memorial Day weekend. Opening Sunday would have been a good thing, as most people are going home on Monday and wouldn't visit.

And if the museum wasn't needed for the wedding until 5:00, why wasn't the museum open to its stated time of 4:00? And about the gift shop, I was told it was closed several times, but I persisted and whined and cried until Julie came up. P.S. Give her a raise for being so accommodating. :)

I personally have thought of volunteering, but my working hours would allow me only a couple times a month.

There needs to be more press about the museum and its wonders, and there really hasn't been. I would hate to see it go under, as it allows us a place to revel in Fresnel lenses.
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Postby Paul » Sat May 30, 2009 4:20 pm


Please Help! Every dollar counts. Let's keep Ken Black's dream alive, he worked so hard to make this collection what it is today - a National Treasure! If you've already donated, please tell your friends and relatives about this wonderful museum. Just bringing this back to the top!

All my best, :D
Paul Conlin
Help Keep Ken Black's Dream Alive
Join or Make a Donation Today!

Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park Drive P.O. Box 1116
Rockland, Maine 04841

(207) 594-3301

www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org
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Postby Paul » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:03 am


:D The Colorado Lighthouse Collector's Society has voted to send a $200 donation to help keep the doors open at the Maine Lighthouse Museum! :yay:

It would be great if other lighthouse groups around the country decide to follow their example!

We need to keep Ken Black's dream alive. If you've already donated please tell your friends and family about our efforts to keep the museum open for everyone to learn about our lighthouse and maritime heritage!

Please Help! Every dollar counts!

My best, :D
Paul Conlin
Help Keep Ken Black's Dream Alive
Join or Make a Donation Today!

Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park Drive P.O. Box 1116
Rockland, Maine 04841

(207) 594-3301

www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org
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Postby ericlighthouse » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:18 am


The Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation has donated $50.00 and 50 of our new postcards to the cause.
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Postby Paul » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:35 am


Eric - :yay: Please thank the members of the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation for the donation! :yay: I was just on the phone with Dot Black and she is buoyed by all of the donations that have been coming in recently! Thanks again!

My best, :D
Paul Conlin
Help Keep Ken Black's Dream Alive
Join or Make a Donation Today!

Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park Drive P.O. Box 1116
Rockland, Maine 04841

(207) 594-3301

www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org
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