The Montauk Lighthouse Ocean’s Institute opened its doors to the public in August, 2015. Private donors enabled a renovation of the historic windows and the doors in the former Fog Signal Building that was erected in 1897. The institute is the result of the vision and passion of local residents Bettina Stelle and Greg Donohue, who are Montauk Lighthouse Committee members, and local reporter and author, Rusty Drumm.

The institute is a non-political platform whose mission is to identify and explain the current ecological challenges to our oceans, waterways, beaches and marine habitats; to focus on highlights of Long Island’s rich maritime history; and to present and inspire local initiatives to solve regional and global environmental problems.

This year’s exhibits and displays feature a shark tracking station and recorded interviews with legendary local fishermen and local residents who discuss Montauk life from 1926-1960. An interactive mural will revisit the historic whaling industry that led to whale preservation efforts. Local fish species will also be identified for our visitors. For the first time, this year’s exhibits will feature a special children’s area with various interactive and tactile displays and books. The Montauk School 4th Grade has contributed an “Ocean Mural” that is made entirely from collected finds on the beach.

This year’s summer events include a #Forocean Symposium and presentations/workshops in collaboration with the Riverhead Marine Foundation and the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center. A local art teacher will also conduct two ocean related children’s workshops in July and August.