Because the lighthouse remains on the Coast Guard's property, all tours must be guided. Visitors are not able to explore the lighthouse or the property immediately surrounding it, without the presence of a museum guide. However, the museum plans to restore the first floor to reflect what life was once like for light keepers and their families.
The original 1866 lighthouse was a story and half with a 40-foot brick tower, to house the light. Later a light at the end of the breakwater and a two whistle system were also added, which necessitated an assistant light keeper. That also required additionally housing, which eventually led to the second story of the lighthouse being completed in 1909. Further additions were added in the 1950s. The lighthouse seen today is not the same as the 1866 lighthouse, but it is a unique lighthouse, against which no other lighthouse in Michigan will appear the same.