Almost a year to the day after the Gay Head Light resumed its watch over Vineyard Sound and the waters south of Aquinnah, memories of its historic move are still fresh on the Island.

Display documents May 2015 relocation of historic lighthouse. — Mark Lovewell

On Sunday evening, a large crowd gathered under the red and white beacon to celebrate the opening of a new educational exhibit, and pay homage to the Island landmark that was narrowly saved from the sea.

Musician Kate Taylor called the crowd’s attention to the front porch of a small building known as the Manning-Murray House by banging on the side of a large donation jar with a bottle opener. Her daughter, Liz Witham, along with her husband, Ken Wentworth, are putting the last touches on a feature-length film, Keeprs of the Light, documenting the lighthouse move. Ms. Witham spoke briefly before a set of music by members of the Taylor family and a screening of scenes from the film.

She noted the importance of the house, which was once a restaurant but has gone unused by the public for years. Inside, the simple rooms were lined with images, blueprints and writings associated with the move — some framed in rough wood that reflected a spirit of newness at the cliffs.

“Thank you for coming aboard this journey,” Ms. Witham said to applause from the crowd, which included Aquinnah residents, longtime Islanders and new arrivals

Martha's Vineyard Museum executive director Phil Wallis and Gay Head Light keeper Richard Skidmore. — Alex Elvin

A series of songs about Aquinnah and lighthouses seemed to echo the landscape. Shanty Song, written by Ms. Taylor’s late husband Charlie Witham and performed by Ms. Taylor and Dana Edelman (both on guitar), painted a picture of life in Aquinnah and the simple joys of living on an island:

At nighttime when we settled down to dream
The lighthouse met our refuge with its beams
And the fishermen and the sailors on the sound
They were saved from Devil’s Bridge when they came around

Kate’s nephew Ben Taylor and his fiancee Sophie Hiller performed three songs about the sea and lighthouses, including Red Queen, an homage to the Gay Head Light by Ben’s cousin Isaac Taylor; and the haunting serenade Lighthouse by Ernie Halter, which Ms. Hiller performed solo on a Wurlitzer organ.

The event fell on National Lighthouse Day, and the 300th year of the nation’s first lighthouse, the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island — further adding to its significance.

Celebration took place on National Lighthouse Day. — Alex Elvin

Following a final group performance, the crowd moved inside, filling the tiny house shoulder to shoulder for the first public screening of scenes from the documentary, Keepers of the Light, produced by the Aquinnah-based Film-Truth Productions.

People cheered and applauded for the familiar faces on the screen, many of which also appeared in the audience. On the screen, former lighthouse committee member Len Butler explained the technology behind the move. Interviews and archival footage explored the early history of Gay Head, including the ox-cart rides and pottery stands that preceded the shops at the cliffs.

The evening was rich with history.

One scene shows the late Sen. Ted Kennedy speaking about the nonprofit he helped set up with William Waterway to save the lighthouse from demolition in the 1980s. Many applauded when Mr. Waterway’s name appeared on the screen, remembering their friend who died last year.

Senator Kennedy recalls the words of his brother John F. Kennedy, on the occasion of the 1962 America’s Cup in Newport, R.I. The scene cuts to footage of the former president, who often visited the Island, and a crackly recording of his timeless speech:

Guests were treated to clips from documentary film Keepers of the Light by Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth. — Alex Elvin

“It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean. And therefore we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean, and when we go back to the sea, whether to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.”

The film chronicles the relocation of the lighthouse, which followed years of preparation and required an unprecedented level of cooperation among local, state and federal agencies, in addition to actually moving the lighthouse 129 feet from the eroding clay cliff and restoring the site.

“It’s amazing to think that it’s actually behind us,” lightkeeper Richard Skidmore said of the relocation, as people continued to visit after the screening. “It was such an overwhelming thing to think about doing. It’s great that so much of the history of that has been preserved.”

“It almost seems like yesterday,” said Mr. Butler, leaning against a post on the porch as the sun went down behind the lighthouse. “It’s something I’m never going to forget.”

The Gay Head Light exhibit, including scenes from the film, will continue through August (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays), and weekends in September. For more information and schedule updates, visit