Public Programs

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

Thursday, May 17, 6:00pm
Annual Membership Meeting & Dinner

Featuring entertainment by the St. Joseph High School Choirs. Dinner is $25/person; please RSVP by May 10.

Thursday, June 14
Lighthouse Exhibits Opening Reception

5:00 – 7:30pm – Refreshments served, Exhibits open.

A Door Prize drawing will be held at 6:30pm for a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer!

6:30pm – Speaker and Book Signing: Pilot/ Photographer John L. Wagner.

Using a set of skills learned over 9,000 hours of flying and 40 years working in the aviation industry, John L. Wagner photographed every lighthouse in Michigan from the sky. Starting in 1986, the project took six and a half years and resulted in a self-published 11×14” tabletop book in 1993. In this program, Mr. Wagner discusses his airplane, flying, and composition techniques, the camera equipment used, and the publishing process. Copies of his hardcover photography book will be available for purchase and signing. Sponsored by the Twin City Camera Club and Candlewood Suites – Stevensville. Free Admission.

Friday, June 15, Noon
Brown Bag Lunch Artist’s Talk
The Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad Street, St. Joseph

Pilot/ Photographer John L. Wagner presents an Encore presentation and book signing at the Box Factory for the Arts. Free Admission.

Friday and Saturday, June 15-16
Free Tower Climbs – 11:00am – 2:00pm (weather permitting)

North Pier Inner Lighthouse, St. Joseph

During our Lighthouse Open Hours, come out for a FREE tour up to the lantern as we celebrate the new exhibit on the pier (normally a $5 charge). First-come, first-served; must be at least 4 feet tall to climb. Tours may be cancelled due to pier conditions; the status for the day will be posted at Tiscornia Beach Park and on our St. Joe Lighthouse Tours Facebook page.

Thursday, July 19, 6:30pm
Just 20 Feet from Safety: The Story of the S.S. Eastland

Ollie Sanders, a Western Electric employee was an eyewitness to the disaster of the S.S. Eastland. Join us as Ollie relives the events, aftermath and ongoing legends that surround the sinking of the “Speed Queen of the Great Lakes” on the Chicago River on July 24, 1915.

Nationally known actor Terry Lynch specializes in historical portrayal, giving audiences a new, first-person perspective on the people and events that make up our history and culture. Learn more about the deadliest shipwreck in Great Lakes history through this one-man, interactive presentation for all ages.

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

Dr. Dial is Executive Director of the Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame (and a past Curator at the Heritage Museum). This presentation will explore the stories and lives of female lighthouse keepers in Michigan history. “Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service,” is also a 2018 exhibition at the Heritage Museum, on loan from the Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame.


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!