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Hampton Roads History: Diversity Among Virginia Lighthouse Keepers

January 7 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

Presenter: Benjamin H. Trask,  educator and author

This Hampton Roads History lecture will take place in person in the McMullen classroom at the Museum and also online via Zoom.

Join us for a fascinating lecture with educator and author Benn Trask as he highlights the diverse community of Virginia lighthouse keepers who hailed from many socioeconomic backgrounds to serve their communities beyond their duty as guardians of the lights.

Benjamin H. Trask

About the presentation:
From the 1850s to the 1920s, the Greater Hampton Roads area light keepers included not only “old salts,” but married couples, women, immigrants, and formerly enslaved persons who contributed to their communities beyond their being guardians of the lights.
Learn about the African American lighthouse keepers who served in the Virginia General Assembly, and discover the maritime communities of Mathews County and the Outer Banks that produced scores of keepers and crew members who served on the lighthouse tenders of the USCG’s old Fifth District.
Benjamin (Benn) Trask, a former curator and librarian at The Mariners’ Museum, currently teaches social studies at Gildersleeve Middle School in Newport News. His book on lighthouses of southeastern Virginia will be published by History Press in 2022, and will feature images from The Mariners’ Museum Collection.

Advance registration is required for both in person and online options.
Attending in person?
This program is free with $1 admission, and free for Mariners’ Museum Members. Seating is limited, and chairs will be spaced out for social distancing in compliance with current CDC safety protocols for COVID-19.
Watching remotely?
This program is free to watch and you can register below.

Hampton Roads History Lecture:
Many Beams, One Focus: Diversity Among Lighthouse Keepers in SE VA
Friday, January 7, 2022   12 PM (ET)

Viewers are welcome to send any comments or questions to Benn, and he will answer them following his talk.

Image credit: Old Point Comfort Light, built 1802, beyond the walls of Fort Monroe, Va. From the Ralph Clifton Smith Collection, ca. 1921-1938. The Mariners’ Museum MS0190-02-01.162-04

Pre-registration is required.
For additional assistance, questions or support, please contact us at: [email protected].

Can’t make the program in person or online?
No problem! Many of our programs are uploaded to our YouTube Channel shortly afterwards.


January 7
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST


The Mariners’ Museum
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606 United States
(757) 596-2222