They were the literal beacons of hope in the dead of night or fury of storm. Lighthouse keepers and their loved ones, are the theme of this year's exhibit, "Guiding Lights: Nantucket's Lighthouses, Keepers & their Families," at the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum from May 24-Oct. 8. The exhibit celebrates those who helped guide mariners through Nantucket's dangerous shoals for centuries before modern technology, a time when families manned the lighthouses, through stories and photographs of their daily lives. The museum houses a collection of more than 5,000 objects in all, including surfboats, beach carts, vintage photos and unique items such as a silver medal awarded to Marcus W. Dunham for his role in several rescues during the Great Gale of 1879; the incorporation of oral histories into the "Madeket Millie" retrospective; an interactive shipwreck map; and a whimsical Newfoundland dog chair created by island artist Clara Urbahn.
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum is located at 158 Polpis Road, about four miles from Nantucket Town. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages five through 12, and includes admission to the museum and the historic Coffin School at 4 Winter St. For information, visit www.nantucketshipwreck.org or call 508-228-1885.