For Kids Only

For Teachers

We’ve prepared a special teacher’s packet to help. For more information about school tours, please contact the Program Coordinator at 231-386-7195.

This page is loaded with fun activities and information for kids. You may download any of these documents by clicking on the box. You will need Adobe Acrobat to open these files.

What Is An Artifact?

An artifact is a man-made object, which is 25 years-old (or older), that is constructed of material such as wood, metal, plastic, clay, etc.

Explore information about what an artifact is and isn’t.

Download Guide

Lighthouse Words To Know

Download Teachers Guide

ARGAND LAMP – A hollow wick oil lamp (see wick)
AEROBEACON – A modern-day type of light presently used in many lighthouses
to produce a characteristic.
ASTRAGAL – Metal bar (running vertically or diagonally) dividing the lantern room glass into sections.
BULLSEYE – A convex lens used to concentrate (refract) light.
CHARACTERISTIC – Individual flashing pattern of each light.
DAYMARK – Unique color scheme and/or pattern that identifies a specific lighthouse during daylight hours.
FIXED LIGHT – A steady non-flashing beam.
FOG SIGNAL – A device (such as a whistle, bell, canon, horn, siren, etc.) which provides a specific loud noise as an aid to navigation in dense fog.
FRESNEL LENS – A type of optic consisting of a convex lens and many prisms of glass which focus and intensify the light through reflection and refraction.
FUEL – A material that is burned to produce light (fuels used for lighthouses included wood, lard, whale oil, tallow, kerosene.) Today, besides electricity and acetylene gas, solar power is also used.
GALLERY – On a lighthouse tower, a platform or walkway or BALCONY located outside the watch room (main gallery) and/or lantern room (lantern gallery.)
KEEPER – The person who takes care of the light in the lighthouse. (The Head Keeper is responsible for the operation of a light station.)
LAMP – The lighting apparatus inside a lens.
LANTERN ROOM – Glassed-in housing at the top of a lighthouse tower containing the lamp and lens.
LENS – A curved piece of glass for bringing together or spreading rays of light passing through it.
LIGHTHOUSE – A lighted beacon of major importance in navigation.
LIGHT STATION – A complex containing the lighthouse tower and all of the outbuildings, i.e. the keeper’s living quarters, fuel house, boathouse, fog-signaling building, etc.
LOG – A book for maintaining records, similar to a diary.
NAVIGATION – Travel over water.
ORDER – Size of the Fresnel lens which determines the brightness and distance the light will travel.
PARABOLIC – A bowl-like metal device, silver plated, reflector with a small oil lamp in the center.
PHAROLOGIST – One who studies or is interested in lighthouses.
PRISM – A transparent piece of glass that refracts or disperses light.
REFLECT – Bend or throw back light.
REFRACT – Bend or slant rays of light.
REVOLVING LIGHT – One that produces a flash or characteristic.
SPIDER LAMP – Shallow brass pan containing oil and several solid wicks.
STAG LIGHT – A lighthouse with no family living in it, i.e. inhabited by men only.
TOWER – Structure supporting the lantern room of the lighthouse.
WATCH ROOM– A room immediately below the lantern room or service room where fuel and other supplies were kept where the keeper prepared the lanterns for the night and often stood watch. The clockworks (for rotating lenses) were also located there.
“WICKIE”-A nickname given to lighthouse keepers derived from the task of trimming the wick of the lamps.

Lighthouse Museum Manners

Special places sometimes have special rules. At Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum these rules are called “Museum Manners”.

Read the following sentences then download and follow the directions contained in the guide.

1. No running inside or outside the building.
2. Food or drinks are not allowed in the exhibit areas.
3. Use your soft voice when you are talking in the building.
4. If you have questions remember to raise your hand.
5. Please do not bring ipods or music to the Lighthouse.
6. Remember to dress for the weather. If it is cold make sure you have what you need to keep warm.
7. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking quite a bit of time.
8. Please do not touch anything unless you are invited to do so.

Crack The Code

On December 20, 1899, the U. S. Lighthouse Service installed two, ten-inch steam whistles that stood 37 feet above the water level. They were powered by steam from boilers fueled by wood and coal. It took nearly 55 minutes before the boilers were ready and the whistle could blow. The signal was a 3 second blast, 12 seconds of silence, a 6 second blast followed by 24 seconds of silence. Today, some fog signals have been replaced with radio beacons and emit a signal of dots and dashes.

Can you crack the code?  Download the activity sheet to give it a try!

The School For Lighthouse Children

The formal schooling of the keeper’s children was a serious problem at many Great Lakes lighthouses. In some cases, parents served as the teachers for their children. If possible, lighthouse keepers with school age children would be assigned to stations near schools so that the children would not have to travel a great distance. This was not possible if the light was on an island. The children would then have to live temporarily with another family on the mainland while going to school.

Download the guide to learn more!

Ode To A Lighthouse Keeper (Poem)

The called him James when he came to this place.
Nee, McCormick, to David and Grace.
In 1900, he took him a wife,
A wee little lass to share in his life…

Download the poem to read more!

Reading List

Download the lighthouse recommend reading list for teachers and students.

Get Involved

Become a member of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum and receive benefits such as free admission to the museum (for members and their guests), discounts in the Lighthouse Gift & Camp Store, a quarterly newsletter, and more.