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The Lighthouse Museum Project

More than 90 years ago, Historic Stonington (formerly the Stonington Historical Society) stepped forward to preserve the 1840 Stonington Harbor Light and create a museum dedicated to Stonington’s history. The Lighthouse Museum has stood as an inspiring beacon for generations of students, visitors, and residents of Southeastern Connecticut and beyond. It’s time to take another step forward. It’s time to advance our standing as a museum that is open to all and will inspire future generations.


Built in 1840, the Lighthouse Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the first lighthouse in the United States to become a maritime museum. It preserves the history of Stonington and southeastern Connecticut and endures as a compelling feature of the cultural landscape. Exhibits explore an extraordinary collection of artifacts that illustrate nearly 400 years of Stonington’s history. The Lighthouse marks not only the entrance to Stonington Harbor but explores the times when Stonington seamen like Nathaniel Palmer and Edmund Fanning were charting the world; when Stonington served as the nexus for all steamship and rail travelers between New York City and points north; and when Stonington could claim credit for rebuffing two British attacks.


We’ve made significant improvements to the building’s structural and environmental conditions. New climate controls, electrical systems, and wiring have been installed. Structural supports have been reinforced, and barriers against moisture and insects will keep harmful elements out.

The Visitor Center will create a welcoming and accessible museum for the 21st century. It will offer the possibility of a more dynamic museum with changing and expanded exhibits that represent diverse voices that will be accessible to all. Improvements to the landscape of one of the few remaining green spaces in Stonington Borough will create a community terrace, granite benches, significant grading improvements for ease of use, and off-street ADA-accessible parking.

Our Strongest Supporters Help Make it Possible

Grania & John Ackley III

Michael & Ann Adair

John & Judy Alexander


Ms. Frances C. Ashley

Mrs. Nancy Bates

Jill and David Bauer

Ms. Shirley Beal

Randy Bean & Beth Black

Theodore & Diana Beck

Wendy W. Benchley

Mrs. Alan P. Bentz

Hans Bertram-Nothnagel

Michael Blair

Alan & Ann Blanchard

Louisa Boatwright

Mary T. Boatwright

Kevin Bowdler & Anne Fix

James Boylan

William Breed

David Brown & Scott Lane

Stillman Brown & Meg Raftis

Sylvia Brown

Josephine R. Bump

Gary Buonanno & Susan Danaher Buonanno

Russ & Karin Burgess

Betsy Carr

Melanie Cava & Todd Drevo

Sam & Beth Chapin

Chelsea Groton Foundation

Mr. Charles T. Clark

James Coker

Richard & Lois Cole

Anne Connerton

Cheryl & Charles Danis

Davis Selected Advisors

Debevoise and Plimpton

Michael & Dudley Del Balso

Arthur & Wynne Delmhorst

Michele & John Delmhorst

Cornelia Dickinson

Christopher & Barbara Dixon

Bob Snyder
Dodson Boatyard

Chris Donohue

Michael & Genevieve Doody

Ms. Penelope Duckham

Wendy & David Eck

Cynthia Elliott & Doug Rice

Brooke & Todd Elmgren

Mr. & Mrs. David Erskine

David Estes & Astrid Meghrigian

Donald Fiore

Jean Fiore & Patrick Keenan

Marcia Fix

Kathleen Flaherty

Mary Wolf & William E. Fowler III

John & Susan Fullerton

Alessandro & Nora Fusina

Diane Geer

Phyllis Weaver & Gary Gerstein

Richard & Koko Gildersleeve

Marc & Barbara Ginsberg

Glenn & Pamela Gordinier

William Griffin

William R. Griffith

Brian & Allegra Griffiths

Bradford & Susan Hart

Keith Fontaine

Pamela Hastings

Charles & Susan Hatton

Barbara Petty Heuer

Peyton C. Horne

Christopher & Nancy Houlihan

Mary Hughes

James P. Verhalen Family Foundation

Hal Johnson and Jane Leipold

Jane Johnston

Lucia & Rodney Johnstone

George & Lynn Kimmerle

Patricia Kitchings

Deborah Kotchen

Lam Partners

Saren Langmann

Richard Larkin & Laurie Cameron

Paul & Julia Leeming

Amanda Lindberg

Dr. & Mrs. Bruce Littman

Ann Lobdell

Spike Lobdell

Bevis Longstreth

Julia and David Loomis

Kate & Tim Love

Lynch Family

Evelynn & Doug Lyons

William Malloy

Steven & Judy Martin

Jack and Eileen Morehouse

Mason’s Island Marina

Alan and Janet Vaskas

Mrs. Prudence Fairbrother Meehan

Bob Mercer & Anne Page

David Meredith

Paul Merrill

Robert & Virginia Montgomery

Marguerite Moore

Thomas & Laura Moran

Bill Morris

Caroline & Scott Muller

Elizabeth Adams Noyes

Lisa Konicki
Ocean Community Chamber Foundation

Anna Maria & Wright Palmer

Henry R. Palmer, III

Joyce & Francis Pandolfi

Anthony & Jane Pellegrini

Jane Perry

Pfizer Foundation Matching Gifts Program

John Pereira
PMW Marine

Nicholas F. Potter

Diane Pulito

David & Cheryl Purvis

Stephen Record

Mary Kay & Van W. Riley

Alex Roepers

Craig & Joan M. Rowley

Thomas & Candace Sanford

Jane Schaefer

Peter & Eleanor Schaffer

Maureen Sievers

Steven J. Slutzky

David Vincent Smalley

David Smith

Kathleen & Larry Snoddon

Mrs. Joan Soons

Dr. Nora Spens

Marsha Standish

Michael T. Sullivan

Robert Suppicich

John and Polly Timken Jr.

Barbara Timken

The Hon. Danielle Chesebrough

Rob and Deborah Valenti

Catherine & David Vargas

Richard Farmer & Vivie von Walstrom

Stephen Wade

Mr. G.W. Blunt White II

Harry & Liz White

Katherine S. White

Mr. William Blunt White

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph L. Williams, III

Michael M. Wiseman & Helen H. Garten

Muriel Wydler

Edward York

Stonington means a great deal to me. The Lighthouse is just part of home; I know it inside and out.

Prue Fairbrother MeehanDonor to the Lighthouse Museum Campaign

What’s Next?

A Fully Accessible Visitor Center & Seaside Terrace

The footprint of our planned addition measures less than 500 square feet, but will create almost 1,000 square feet of usable space thanks to a finished basement. The main floor will house a Visitor Center providing access to the entire first floor of the Museum for those with physical challenges. New and expanded exhibits will incorporate original scholarship and feature interactive and multimedia components, allowing us greater flexibility to showcase Stonington’s history. Improvements to the grounds will include an inviting terrace, granite benches, walking paths and ADA accessible parking.


Oudens-Ello Architecture is a Boston-based firm with extensive museum and historic restoration experience, chosen for its nuanced and adaptable approach to design. They are well-versed in the restoration and preservation of existing structures and the unique collections within them. Past projects include work for the Mystic Seaport Museum and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.


Beginning in 2012, Oudens-Ello conducted a complete inventory of the structural and environmental issues impacting the Lighthouse and created a plan for historic restoration and universal access. Design work followed and several revisions were made incorporating the suggestions of the community. In May of 2017, the Stonington Borough Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved our plan, thus allowing Historic Stonington to proceed with the restoration of the Lighthouse and construction of the Visitor Center.


To manage the restoration and construction of the addition, we have recruited a dedicated Lighthouse Museum Committee that includes architects, marketing and public relations professionals, historic preservation experts, neighbors, and community members who care deeply about this project.


October 2019: Groundbreaking
November 2019 – April 2020: Interior & Exterior Restoration
July 2020: Phase I Project Completion


Fully Accessible Visitor Center
Fully Accessible Restroom
Handicap Accessible Parking
Seaside Terrace & Landscaping
Walking Paths
Multipurpose Room
Total: $1,450,000

Video Interview

Conrad Ello is the lead architect on the Lighthouse Restoration Project and partner in the Boston architecture firm Oudens Ello. In this video, he discusses the challenges and opportunities created by this project. His firm specializes in cultural, academic and commercial projects.

Your Legacy

Historic Stonington is deeply appreciative of the widespread generosity in support of the Lighthouse Museum Campaign. With your help, we successfully raised $1,900,000 for the Lighthouse Project to date. There is still much to do, and this worthy effort could be your legacy. Contact Executive Director Elizabeth Wood at to learn more about this project and how your family’s leadership gift may be forever remembered as an important contribution to the character of our seaside neighborhood.

  • Lighthouse Park is reserved for a gift of $1,000,000+
  • Visitor Center is reserved for a gift of $500,000+
  • Lighthouse Tower is reserved for a gift of $250,000+
  • Courtyard is reserved for a gift of $250,000+
  • Exhibit Rooms are reserved for gifts of $100,000+