Keepers of the Light

In 2015, a community rallied to save the famous Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts from destruction by erosion. The documentary KEEPERS OF THE LIGHT captures this modern-day race against time to move the structure away from the rapidly receding cliffside, and recounts the more than 200-year-old history of the iconic landmark. Before American highways, the Gay Head Lighthouse was indispensable to ships navigating the waterways of Martha's Vineyard Sound, an important artery for transporting goods and commodities up and down the East Coast. As the electrical and machinery demands of the industrial age generated a boom in sales of whale oil, the region's whaling and shipping industry exploded, with the lighthouse playing a pivotal role. The clay cliffs upon which the lighthouse sits are also integral to the history of the Wampanoag nation of Gay Head, and served as the lookout point for the life-saving crew that rescued ships in distress. KEEPERS OF THE LIGHT weaves together all these stories, revealing connections between past and present. Although transportation and technology have evolved, superseding the need for lighthouses to aid navigation, landmarks like the Gay Head Lighthouse continue to speak to our collective history. To bring this history to life, KEEPERS OF THE LIGHT employs striking drone footage, archival film, rare photographs from private collections, letters, historical records, and interviews with Wampanoag tribal members, Aquinnah town residents, and lighthouse and maritime historians.

Episode Duration: 56 minutes and 45 seconds

Episode Number:



NHPBS Over-the-Air Broadcast

WENH-TV Ch. 11 Durham

WLED-TV Ch. 48 Littleton

WEKW-TV Ch. 18 Keene

W50DP-D Ch. 50 Hanover

W34DQ-D Ch. 34 Pittsburg

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