Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Hooper Strait Lighthouse

Visitor Experience

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
213 N. Talbot St.
P.O. Box 636
St. Michaels, MD 21663

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Lighthouse keepers had risky jobs with an important responsibility to keep the Chesapeake's shoals and channels safely marked for shipping. Ascend the steps of the Hooper Strait Lighthouse and travel back in time to learn how 19th century lighthouse keepers tended their station in the middle of the Bay. Through this hands-on exhibit, visitors can climb the sea hatch, tend the huge lens, or stand watch on the lookout for ships or fog, experiencing firsthand the solitary, often heroic lives of Hooper Strait lighthouse keepers.

The Hooper Strait Lighthouse, now standing on Navy Point, was originally built in 1879 to light the way for boats passing through the shallow, dangerous shoals of Hooper Strait, a thoroughfare for boats bound from the Chesapeake Bay across Tangier Sound to Deals Island or places along the Nanticoke and Wicomico Rivers. As a "screwpile" lighthouse, it is built on special iron pilings which were tipped with a screw that could be turned into the muddy bottom for a depth of 10 feet or more. The Museum's lighthouse is the second lighthouse constructed at Hooper Strait – the first one was destroyed by ice in 1877.

Through fun interactive activities, visitors may experience the rustic life of a lighthouse keeper by participating in the museum’s Lighthouse Overnight Program. It may be the most interesting place you ever slept!

To learn more about lighthouses, visit the U.S. Lighthouse Society's web site at