All Spotlights » A Light for History
Reda DeYoung is a secretary in the History Department. Reda, and her husband, Blair, spent a weekend in February as lighthouse keepers at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Northport, Michigan.
Reda explains, “We heard about the program while camping last year in Traverse City. There are lighthouses in Michigan that have lighthouse keeper programs. Grand Traverse Lighthouse (built in 1852) has had a lighthouse keeper program for a number of years. A couple of years ago, they started a “winter keepers” program.”
In the summer the “keepers” work in the lighthouse museum and gift shop. In the winter, the museum and gift shop are closed and keepers concentrate on projects such as painting, moving exhibits, and snow removal.
The process to be lightkeepers included becoming members of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, filling out an keeper application, writing a letter stating why they wanted to be lighthouse keepers, including two letters of recommendation, as well as their work history and a resume’. There was also a telephone interview.
Along with snow removal, they worked primarily in the gift shop during their stay. They removed a wall to open up the space, painted, and inventoried new merchandise.
It was a great experience living and working in the lighthouse.