June 22, 2024

Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Awarded $5,000 THRIVE Grant

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Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse was recently selected as a recipient of a 2024 general operating support grant from Rhode Island Humanities. The grant is part of the THRIVE grant program, supported by an allocation from the State of Rhode Island. RI Humanities is an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“We are grateful to RI Humanities for enabling us to expand our museum collection,” stated Chair of Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Dennis Tardiff. The $5,000 THRIVE grant will be used to acquire historical items used in lighthouses. Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse received one of 18 grants awarded in May to cultural heritage organizations and local historical and preservation societies. Tardiff, Friends’ Treasurer Adam Dias and Director of Development Nathan Chace attended the public announcement of the grant recipients at the State House in late May.

Since the interior of the lighthouse was restored in 2018, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse has served as a museum. From June to September, scheduled tours to the island lighthouse bring hundreds of visitors to learn about life in a lighthouse. Displays, photographs and story boards throughout the house depict the history of Pomham Rocks and the four other lighthouses that once safeguarded East Providence – Fuller Rock, Sassafras Point, Sabin Point and Bullocks Point. The showpiece of the museum is Pomham’s original Fresnel lens, which lit the way since 1871 for ships heading to the Port of Providence. Glass display cases on the lower and upper floors of the building feature historical items used in lighthouses. Included are an oil lamp and glass chimney that was placed inside the Fresnel lens to provide the lifesaving beacon and containers of different sizes, which were used for measuring oil for the lamp and storing it for future use.

“We thank Rhode Island Humanities and Rhode Island’s federal Congressional delegation,” noted Tardiff, “for securing funding to allow us to educate the public on the history of lighthouses and the important role they played in Rhode Island maritime history.”

Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation. This important New England maritime light station and museum is an integral part of Rhode Island’s heritage and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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