SALEM — The Bakers Island light station will be getting a new exhibit next year, showing visitors what life was like for a lighthouse keeper there, thanks to a grant from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The DAR is donating $7,500 to the Essex National Heritage Commission to develop a display inside the assistant keeper's house on the island. The exhibit will include informative panels, reproductions of historical documents and displays of tools, equipment and clothing used by lighthouse keepers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. It is expected to open in June 2020.
“We look forward to sharing the many fascinating stories of families who worked and lived at the light station,” said Annie Harris, CEO of Essex Heritage, adding that she was "thrilled" by the donation.
The U.S. Coast Guard transferred the light station to Essex Heritage in 2014, so the group could restore the lighthouse, maintain the property and provide access for the public, which had been kept off the island for many years. Essex Heritage now offers boat trips to visit the lighthouse every summer.
The first lighthouse was built there in 1798, at the height of Salem's importance as a seaport. The current lighthouse dates to 1820.
Tours of the lighthouse are offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 15, and cost $35 for adults and $25 for children. The boat leaves from the Salem Ferry landing. For information about tours, visit www.bakersislandlight.org.