How To Not Make A Museum

The Lighthouse at Two Lights by Edward Hopper (at The Met)

I’m a freak for lighthouses– maybe it’s because of the trip to a couple of North Carolina lighthouses when I was a kid or from watching one too many episodes of The Road to Avonlea. Regardless, when I heard that there was a National Lighthouse Museum located just over the harbor in Staten Island, I was ecstatic! That is, until I did a little Googling.

Turns out that although an SI organization won the title “National Lighthouse Museum” in 1998, there’s still no museum. According to Staten Island Live:

The problem is that no one has come up with the funding required to transform the 19th century buildings on the site into a museum. Everybody seems to have been waiting around for somebody else to do the heavy lifting. It was as if everyone thought merely getting the designation was enough.

The city’s Economic Development Corp., which has always seemed a reluctant partner in this enterprise, did put about $8 million into stabilizing the buildings and constructing a first-rate new pier. But the EDC has maintained, with some reason, that the job of getting the museum up and running should fall to the museum’s backers, not city government.

The board of the museum never came close to raising the $15 million needed to get the museum going. Then, a couple of years ago, the board formally dissolved in what seemed to be the death knell for the museum.

But apparently there is a new board for the organization and renewed efforts to raise the several million dollars required to turn the proposed museum into a reality. Let’s hope they do right by it and ward off the muggers. Exploring a museum dedicated to lighthouses sounds like it would be a wonderful way to spend a spring afternoon.


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