Public Programs

Public Programs take place at the Heritage Museum unless otherwise noted.


Thursday, August 16, 6:30pm
Speaker: Dr. Caitlyn Perry Dial, “Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service”

Lighthouse Keeping was once a rugged life filled with long hours and hard work, punctuated by periods of real peril. Not a profession for the fainthearted, it was thought by many to be unsuitable employment for “ladies.” But at least 50 women in Michigan proved the naysayers wrong. Acting as both assistants and full-fledged keepers, women served the sailing and shipping community with distinction for more than 100 years. Several women died while in the Lighthouse Service.

“Ladies of the Lights” is also the title of an exhibition at the Heritage Museum through December, on loan from Michigan Women Forward (formerly known as the Michigan Women’s Historical Center.) Dr. Caitlyn Perry Dial is Executive Director of Michigan Women Forward and a former Curator at the Heritage Museum! This program will dive in to the exhibit’s stirring stories of dedication and courage. Free Admission/ $5 suggested donation.


Thursday, September 13, 6:30pm
Speaker: Chuck Jager, “Pedaling the Pioneer Path: A Journey Down Michigan’s Territorial Road”

In the summer of 2015, history teacher Chuck Jager hopped on his bicycle in downtown Detroit and set off across Michigan. Over a five-day journey, Jager retraced the old Territorial Road, the route of Michigan pioneers in the 1830s. His first book, Pedaling the Pioneer Path: A Journey Down Michigan’s Territorial Road, tells the story of his trip and was published in 2017. Jager not only shares his adventures, but also the history of the road and the sites along what was the state’s 19th century Main Street.

Chuck Jager is a Lakeshore High School history teacher who loves to include local and Michigan history in his classes. He rides his bicycle to school as often as Michigan weather allows. Chuck graduated from Kalamazoo College and has a Master’s in History from Western Michigan University. He serves on the board of the Morton House Museum, “The Home of Benton Harbor History.” Copies of Pedaling the Pioneer Path will be available for purchase from the author at this program. Free Admission/ $5 suggested donation.


Learn more about the full season of St. Joe Lighthouse Tours and other tours around St. Joseph and Benton Harbor that we offer throughout the summer!