Gay Head Lighthouse story airs Wednesday on ‘Nova’

— Photo by Drew Kinsman

The story of the historic Gay Head Lighthouse move comes to PBS’s “Nova” on Wednesday, May 4, at 9 pm. “Operation Lighthouse Rescue,” an hourlong documentary, was produced by award-winning Windfall Films, a London-based production company. An Island-wide screening will follow at a date to be announced.

Filming of “Operation Lighthouse Rescue” took place over the three-month period in 2015 from the start of excavation in April until the three-day move was underway on May 30. Len Butler of Aquinnah, who served as chair of the Lighthouse Relocation Committee, has viewed a rough cut of the film, and calls it “terrific.”

“It covers so much more than the engineering,” Mr. Butler said in a telephone interview earlier this week. In addition to the science behind the project and the actual move, the film addresses the lighthouse’s geology, archaeology, history, and significance to fishermen.

On the scene throughout the relocation process, Mr. Butler now heads the Lighthouse Advisory Board. He will participate in a panel discussion for WGBH members about the lighthouse project on Monday, May 2. The advisory board makes recommendations to the town about management, maintenance, and repairs on the lighthouse. It also oversees its continued restoration. Work on the metal railings at the lighthouse’s gallery level is expected to be completed by the end of June. The lighthouse will open on weekends, beginning Memorial Day until the end of June. Over the summer, it will be open daily from 11 am to 4 pm.

A preview of “Operation Lighthouse Rescue” is available at