Did you know that the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse has an Assistant Keeper Program? It’s an opportunity to live in the Assistant Keeper’s house on the lighthouse grounds and have a fantastic experience volunteering at a working lighthouse. In addition, you will be able to explore and experience a bit of Michigan’s living history as a working volunteer as an Assistant Lighthouse Keeper.
A Little Background of the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse
The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse is located on the beaches of Lake Huron in Huron County, Michigan, about five miles northwest of Port Hope and twelve miles southeast of Port Austin. On 120 acres of land, the park has 110 campsites, including contemporary RV sites, tent sites, and six cottages.
Lighthouse County Park presently includes the Pointe aux Barques U.S. Life-Saving Service Station and adjoining Captain’s residential quarters, in addition to the Lighthouse and the campsite. The Station, which opened in 1876, was once positioned about 300 yards southeast of the Lighthouse. The station was decommissioned in 1937, fell into ruin, and was relocated to the Huron City Museum in 1959. (about two miles to the northwest). The structures were returned to Lighthouse Park in 2017 and secured on new foundations. The restoration process has begun.
In 1908, a second dwelling near the lighthouse was erected to serve as the assistant keeper’s house. Huron County has utilized the assistant keeper’s home as the seasonal residence of the Lighthouse County Park management in recent years. The County agreed in 2019 to enable PABLS to use the assistant keeper’s dwelling to launch an “Assistant Keeper Program.” The home was recently renovated for this purpose.
The Pointe Aux Barques Assistant Lighthouse Keeper Program
For lighthouse fans, the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse is a must-see. A party of two to four individuals can stay at the assistant keeper’s house for a week or more, viewing the picturesque rocky beaches of Lake Huron and assisting us as an “Assistant Keeper.” The weekly fee is $100 per person, plus your promise to give volunteer services.
The assistant keeper’s residence has two bedrooms, each with a queen-sized bed, and can accommodate four individuals. The property offers a spacious living/dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and one complete bathroom with a walk-in shower. The quarters are heated but not cooled. You must bring your bedding; a washing and dryer are located in the basement. The living quarters can accommodate a maximum of four individuals at any given time. All Assistant Keepers must be at least 18 years old. We do not have room for children or overnight visitors. There is parking for two automobiles.
Please remember that the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society officers utilize the house’s original dining room, which is direct to the left of the front entrance, as an office. They may use the office on occasion but will always declare their presence before entering and will only use the office between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., unless in emergencies.
What You Will Be Doing As A Lighthouse Keeper
Imagine walking on the same grounds and doing tasks as an actual lighthouse keeper of the 1800s. Including the first woman lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes.
The Assistant Keepers’ principal tasks include welcoming tourists and serving as docents by giving tours and presenting information about the lighthouse and the surrounding Thumb area. Additionally, Assistant Keepers will be required to execute necessary facility maintenance such as sweeping floors, dusting, and rubbish collection.
Other responsibilities may include maintaining the gift store clean and replenished and receiving and pricing products. The presence of Assistant Keepers at the lighthouse also aids with on-site security for this historic place.
At least two Assistant Keepers will be on duty from Wednesday through Sunday, normally between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The overall time commitment will not exceed 35 hours per week per individual, although it may be less if your group consists of three or four people.
Participants must be at ease speaking in public and in good health.
How to Apply To Volunteer as an Assistant Lighthouse Keeper Program
By the end of your week at the lighthouse, I’m sure that you will know every nook and cranny of the Lighthouse campus, and I’ll bet you will have some great stories and interactions with the visiting public. You may meet new lighthouse enthusiast friends too.
Further details of the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper Program and application process can be found on the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse website.