Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2012

Point Conception Lighthouse Lens Will Be Moving

By Bill Edwards

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The lens as is appears now inside the lantern ...

If you recall our article in the May-June issue of Lighthouse Digest, Christmas has indeed come early for California’s Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM). The U.S. Coast Guard has officially designated the museum as the recipient of the lens from the Point. Conception Lighthouse.

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The 1,500,000 candle power Fresnel lens at Point ...

United States Coast Guard Curator, Arlyn Danielson, says the SBMM was chosen “because it is the maritime museum in closest proximity to Point Conception, and has demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm to interpret the lens from a local, regional, and national perspective-- in relation to its original location at Point Conception. SBMM also has the appropriate staff resources to care for and preserve this lens for future generations.”

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The Point Conception Lighthouse as it appeared in ...
Photo by: Richard Clayton

So why the move? Ms. Danielson explains, “The land where Point Conception sits is in the process of being transferred to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and once that transaction is official, the light station will be inaccessible to civilian visitors. In order to preserve the lens for future interpretation and enjoyment by the general public, it will not convey with the lighthouse to the USAF, but will remain the property of the USCG and made available to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum for education, interpretation and preservation purposes.”

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The lens from Point Conception Lighthouse will ...
Photo by: Bill Edwards

Lt. Austin Fallin, Public Affairs Officer for Vandenberg Air Force Base, says once the property is transferred to USAF ownership, “Vandebenberg will be responsible for the structures on it, including the lighthouse.”

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Close up view of the Fresnel lens inside the ...

Museum Curator Emily Falke says that lighthouse consultant Jim Woodward will be making a visit to the lighthouse to inspect the lens on behalf of the museum. Executive Director of the SBBM, Greg Gorga, says pledges for the exhibit have started to come in, but many more are still needed. Mr. Gorga adds that they have already “met with a structural engineer to see what, if any, reinforcement needs to be done to the flooring to support the weight of the lens and to secure it against earthquakes.” The project could take months to well over a year.

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Exhibit display that will be located near the ...
Photo by: Bill Edwards

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s website is www.sbmm.org. You may also reach them at (805) 962-8404.

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This scale model gives an idea of what the new ...
Photo by: Bill Edwards


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Model of what the lower floor exhibit of the ...
Photo by: Bill Edwards

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2012 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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