According to their Fall 2016 newsletter, the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association (BLMA) has started a major fundraising campaign to create an endowment to continue the work they have already accomplished in preserving the light station. So far they have restored the foundation of the original lighthouse built in 1749, restored the 1938 fog signal building, restored the existing 1856 light tower, and tripled the size of their museum.
Interpretation of site now includes QR code signs on 21 different subjects installed in various locations throughout Beavertail Park and the light station grounds. According to BLMA’s website, “Each 4 x 6 inch sign scanned by a smart phone or tablet connects to www.beavertaillight.org and immediately provides historical or descriptive site information on the subject identified on the sign.”
BLMA had also created an impressive online shipwreck database. The interactive site provides data and stories in connection with 3,018 Rhode Island shipwrecks. You can filter the wrecks according to weather events such as the Portland Gale of 1898 or view their locations on NOAA maps.
Beavertail continues as an active aid to navigation. The newsletter mentions that a new drum beacon was being installed by the U.S. Coast Guard. The old light recently failed and the backup light has been in service ever since. Once the old drum light is replaced, the BLMA has requested that it join the old Fresnel lens in the museum to help tell the continuing history of the light station.
When providing the newsletter, Board Member Varoujan Karentz wrote, “As America’s 3rd oldest light, we here at Beavertail take great pride and delight in providing information to our visitors and lighthouse friends. Our organization is 100% volunteer base operating our free admission museum during the summer months. This year 30,000 plus visitors passed through our doors with complimentary accolades for our new exhibits and interactive displays.”
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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. For 30 years, her work involved lighthouse history. She worked with the National Park Service and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted author and was considered the most knowledgable person on lighthouse information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights: a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers , Mind the Light Katie, and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.