The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) was incorporated in 1983. It is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to facilitate the accumulation and exchange of information about the histories of the Great Lakes lighthouses and their keepers, so that life at these stations may be accurately interpreted, their history preserved, and a new generation of preservationists developed.
Towards these goals, GLLKA has several main areas of interest including preservation and education. Since 1989 teachers and youth leaders have experience workshops at St. Helena Island Light Station in the western Straits of Mackinac. GLLKA received a 30-year license from the U.S. Coast Guard to restore and use the lighthouse in 1997. The St. Helena Island Light Station is on the National Register of Historical Places.
Also, in 1997, GLLKA and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Museum embers proposed that Mackinaw City be selected as the site of the National lighthouse Museum. Eventually, Michigan’s proposal came in second after that of New York (State).
GLLKA offers workshops by arrangement. Award winning materials have been produced and distributed for the workshops by GLLKA, including the Educational Resource Guides, 1991 and 1993 editions.
GLLKA also organizes conferences and cruises of the Great Lakes.
In 1985 GLLKA received a project grant from the Michigan Council for the Humanities to identify people who had worked or lived in Great Lakes lighthouses and record their oral histories on cassette tapes. The tapes were then used to create a book and video entitled, Living at a Lighthouse: Oral Histories from the Great Lakes in 1986. The Beacon, a quarterly publication with news, photographs, articles, and drawings of Great Lakes lighthouses is also published and distributed through GLLKA.
Lastly, GLLKA works with other lighthouse organizations to help achieve their preservation/ restoration goals.
In 2003, GLLKA moved its headquarters to Mackinaw City, Michigan.