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Summer Ship & Shore Days Allow Museum Visitors to Explore Great Lakes

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) and The Sandpiper passenger tour boat are teaming up again this summer to offer the “Ultimate Great Lakes History Day.” One Saturday a month, a special ticket will be available combining full access to the National Museum of the Great Lakes and a trip along the Maumee River aboard The Sandpiper

“The Ship & Shore experience provides a way to explore Great Lakes history all day long,” says Kate Fineske, the museum’s spokesperson. “Guests receive full-day access to the National Museum of the Great Lakes including our museum’s world-class, family-friendly exhibits, a 617-foot iron ore freighter and a lake class tugboat—along with a mid-day trip aboard The Sandpiper departing and returning from the museum docks.” 

While touring the Maumee River aboard The Sandpiper, visitors will have access to the award-winning Port of Toledo: Then and Now exhibit. This exhibit uses QR codes onboard the vessel to allow cruisers to interact with Great Lakes history along the Maumee River. The codes provide additional images and information about the rich history behind various spots along the river’s banks—giving visitors the opportunity to visually compare and contrast the old Maumee River with the new.

“Ship & Shore: The Ultimate Great Lakes History Day” is offered three Saturdays this summer—June 11, July 9 and August 13. Tickets must be purchased in advance at nmgl.org or by calling 419-214-5000. For additional information please visit nmgl.org/event.

Museum Boats Open

Museum’s Boats Reopen for Season and a Call for Museum Volunteers!

April 19, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes will reopen the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and Museum Tug Ohio to the public beginning May 1 and are seeking individuals interested in volunteering. In addition, the museum’s open hours will increase from 6 to 7 days a week, Monday thru Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

“As the summer season nears, volunteers become the lifeblood of our museum—serving as greeters, helping with our museum vessel and ground maintenance, and so much more,” reports Rebecca Gray, who oversees the museum’s volunteer initiative. “Volunteers could be students in need of interesting work to complete required high school volunteer hours, adults with an interest in restoration efforts, or simply individuals who just want to spend time onboard our vessels or at the museum!”

The museum ships close annually over the winter months and re-open for public tours between May 1 and October 31. Visitors can climb onboard the 617-foot cargo ship and historic tug to experience what life was like on the lakes in the early 1900s while also visiting the museum galleries. The inside of the museum features awe-inspiring stories of our Great Lakes through breathtaking photography, over 300 incredible artifacts, a number of powerful audiovisual displays and 40 hands-on interactive exhibits.

To learn more about volunteering or to sign-up to volunteer visit: nmgl.org/volunteer. To pre-purchase tickets for a museum visit, go to nmglstore.org.

Museum Main Entrance Closed for Construction

Museum’s Front Street Entrance Closed for Construction As Glass City Metropark Continues to Take Shape.

The Front St. entrance to the National Museum of the Great Lakes is closed for construction as Glass City Metropark works to improve the vehicle entrance and accessibility to both the museum and new park grounds. Visitors should use the temporary entrance on Front Street, located east of the main entrance and across from Tribute Park. The closure will begin on Monday April 11 and conclude by Friday, April 22.  The main signage on Front Street will be down for the duration of the construction, however the museum’s 11,000 square foot inside exhibit space will remain open. Visitors should expect to be directed to the museum’s parking lot with the use of temporary signage.

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For more information and status updates, please visit nmgl.org, call the museum front desk at 419-214-5000, or visit @NMGLToledo on social media.

Museum and Sandpiper Tour Boat Partnership Wins Top State Award

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) has been awarded the Ohio Museum Association Award for Best Community Partnership in the Over $500,000 budget category for their Port of Toledo: Then & Now — Interactive Sandpiper Tour Boat Exhibit. The award was announced and presented to museum representatives during an evening ceremony at the Cincinnati Art Museum on Sunday, April 3. 

“In August of 2021, the National Museum of the Great Lakes installed our first traveling exhibit aboard a vessel—The Sandpiper tour boat operating on the Maumee River in Toledo,” explains Kate Fineske, who oversees the museum’s community partnerships. “We are always looking for innovative ways to introduce people to Great Lakes History through mission-focused collaborations that also provide value-added benefits for other businesses.”

NMGL staff worked with tour operators to coordinate an exhibit to tell the story of the Port of Toledo’s history in a way Sandpiper guests could independently interact with—in this case, utilizing QR codes and a large-scale map. The partnership also designated two days in 2021 to specifically target a dual experience by introducing “Ship & Shore: The Ultimate Great Lakes History Day”. During these dedicated “Ship & Shore” days, guests could explore Great Lakes history at the National Museum of the Great Lakes and experience the history of the Port of Toledo from the water aboard the Sandpiper.

“As we look toward the 2022 season, we are excited to continue this partnership as well as find other ways to collaborate and support each other,” shares Paul Lis, owner of J&M Cruise Lines. “The one-of-a-kind exhibit will continue to be available for guests onboard The Sandpiper this summer along with the addition of more Ship & Shore days.” 

The museum has already added three dates for the 2022 Ship & Shore days in June, July and August. The Sandpiper offers a number of relaxing and fun cruises on the Maumee River in downtown Toledo and individuals can explore NMGL’s interactive exhibit onboard once it begins public seasonal operations this May. For more information and to book a tour on The Sandpiper visit J&M Cruises online here. For more information and to book a Ship & Shore excursion, visit our NMGL’s events page online or call 419-214-5000. 

The Ohio Museums Association Annual Awards Program proudly honors outstanding achievement and visual communication. Nominations and entries from the field are considered by a distinguished panel of judges, selected to represent the diversity of the museum community. The Best Community Collaboration/Partnership Award recognizes innovative partnerships within communities or among other museums.

Lecture Banner

Museum’s Last Spring Lecture Highlights History of Army Corp of Engineers

March 24, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) On Wednesday, April 6, at 7 p.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes will hold their final presentation of the 2022 Spring Lecture Series covering the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Great Lakes. Presented by Ashley Binion-Zuccaro, Toledo Program Manager of the Buffalo District, this hybrid lecture will discuss the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ deep-rooted history on and around the Great Lakes.

“From the Soo Locks and military construction, to dredging and surveying—the Army Corp of Engineers Ohio River Division currently serves 56 million people,” says Carrie Sowden, the museum’s Archaeological and Research Director who also oversees its lecture series. “The Great Lakes division of the Army Corp of Engineers touches parts of 17 states making it a natural fit for our museum to highlight as a part of our Spring Lecture Series.”  

Ashley Binion-Zuccaro, the event’s presenter, is responsible for the overall management of projects throughout Northwest Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in Economics from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Prior to joining the Buffalo District, she worked for the USACE’s Detroit District as an Economist and Project Manager.

The lecture, as in previous presentations, will be offered as a hybrid event at the museum or online. Event registration is free, but required for all lectures. Donations are encouraged and can be given upon registration. For more information or to register, visit nmgl.org.

For more information, call 419-214-5000, visit our event page here.

Exhibit Banner

New Temporary Exhibit and Spring Promotion

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) has installed a new micro exhibit in partnership with Heritage Sylvania exploring the important role Northwest Ohio and the Great Lakes played in the Underground Railroad during the 1850s and 60s. The exhibit is included with general admission and, to encourage visits particularly during the Spring Break season, the museum is offering a “Buy 1 Adult Ticket, Get 1 Youth Ticket Free” online promotion through April 22.

“The micro exhibit is meant to expose individuals to the inspiring history of the Underground Railroad through written records and artifacts,” explains Ellen Kennedy, Education and Visitor Experience Director at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “Given its proximity to the Michigan border, much of Northwest Ohio, played a pivotal role as one of the last Underground Railroad stops before the Great Lakes, Canada, and freedom.”

The Underground Railroad Micro Exhibit is the second partnership project between Heritage Sylvania and the National Museum of the Great Lakes. The first included a lecture on the same topic which took place on February 23 of this year. The recording of the lecture can be found on NMGLs YouTube page. The new micro exhibit will be open until June 16.

Since the timing of the exhibit opening coincides with many educational institutions’ spring breaks, the museum decided to also offer a spring break special to encourage families to seek out educational opportunities within our region. Individuals wishing to take advantage of the micro exhibit during the Spring Break promotion, must purchase tickets online to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. To pre-purchase discounted museum admission tickets using the Spring Break Promotion, visit nmglstore.org, select any admission ticket date between March 23 and April 23, and add an adult and youth admission ticket to your cart. The discount will be automatically applied at checkout.

For more information, call 419-214-5000, visit our event page here.

Entrance Construction Banner

Museum Main Entrance Under Construction

Museum’s Front Street Entrance Under Construction As Glass City Metropark Continues to Take Shape.

The Front St. entrance to the National Museum of the Great Lakes is under construction as Glass City Metropark works to improve the vehicle entrance and accessibility to both the museum and new park grounds. Work began Tuesday, March 8 and will conclude in April in preparation for May’s increased seasonal visitation as the museum’s vessels re-open. The main signage on Front Street will be down for the duration of the construction, however the museum’s 11,000 square foot inside exhibit space will remain open. Visitors should expect to be directed to the museum’s parking lot with the use of orange barrels, temporary signage, and occasional entrance detours.

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For more information and status updates, please visit nmgl.org, call the museum front desk at 419-214-5000, or visit @NMGLToledo on social media.

Women’s History Month Inspires Museum’s March History Happy Hour Event

March 3, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) On Thursday, March 3 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., the National Museum of the Great Lakes will host their next History Happy Hour: The Women Who Made the Lakes Great. The event was developed to allow individuals to enjoy happy hour drinks while exploring the museum exhibits after-hours. This time, the event will embrace Women’s History Month by highlighting stories of daring rescues, dangerous shipwrecks, and trailblazing women on the Great Lakes. 

“We love exploring new ways to introduce people to our incredible museum and this time we were inspired by Women’s History Month, ” says Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Education and Visitor Experience Director at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “From Native American poet Jane Schoolcraft, to early 19th century Great Lakes captain and Toledoan Grace Waite, to the only female Great Lakes Gold Life Saving Medal Awardee Jean Colby—there are so many wonderful women to celebrate in connection with our Great Lakes.” 

For the first time, the event is also taking place in partnership with EPIC Toledo—the largest young professional organization in the Toledo Region. Tickets are $30 for NMGL and EPIC Toledo members, and they are $35 for non-members. Along with interactive storytelling and afterhour gallery roaming, tickets include light snacks, specialty cocktails created by Toledo Spirits, beer, wine and soft drinks. 

For more information, call 419-214-5000, visit our event page here.

Spring Lecture Freedom on the Horizon Image

Spring Lecture Series Driven by Partnerships, Expands Footprint of Permanent Exhibit Collection

February 3, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) On Wednesday, February 23, at 7 p.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes will begin its annual spring lecture series by featuring the people, places, and moments of the Underground Railroad in Northwest Ohio. “Freedom on the Horizon,” presented by Dr. Janet Rozick in partnership with Heritage Sylvania, will provide insight on the inspiring history of the Underground Railroad in Northwest Ohio as one of the last stops before crossing the Great Lakes to Canada and freedom.

“Our 2022 Spring Lecture Series is all about introducing the diverse roles the Great Lakes have played in history along with furthering partnerships that expand the stories of our current permanent exhibits,” says Kate Fineske, Senior Director of Institutional Advancement at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “For example, beyond their “Freedom on the Horizon” lecture, Heritage Sylvania will also be producing an Underground Railroad micro exhibit opening at the museum later this winter. Likewise, our second lecture topic features Jerry Dennis, an author we partnered with in our new Great Lakes Book Club.”  

Dr. Janet Rozick, the presenter of “Freedom on the Horizon,” currently works as an Associate Professor at American Public University while also volunteering her time at the Lathrop House through Heritage Sylvania—a non-profit education and history center whose mission is to preserve and celebrate Sylvania’s past by placing local history in a national context. This lecture, as with the entire series, will be offered as a hybrid event and participants can choose when registering to take part in-person at the museum or online via Zoom. 

The second lecture in the Spring 2022 series, titled “The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas,” will be March 23. The final presentation, highlighting the history of the Army Corps of Engineers on the Great Lakes, is scheduled for April 6. Event registration is free, but required for all lectures. Donations are encouraged and can be given upon registration.

For more information, call 419-214-5000, visit our event page here.

Museum Introduces New Lunchtime Great Lakes Book Club

January 11, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) The National Museum of the Great Lakes is kicking off 2022 with a new virtual lunchtime program—a Great Lakes book club featuring three books meant to provide new insight into our nation’s inland seas. The museum is encouraging interested participants to grab their lunch and join others online for monthly guided discussions beginning at noon over three Tuesdays:  January 18, February 15, and March 15.

“We are always looking for new ways to engage people in learning more about the Great Lakes,” shares Ellen Kennedy, the Education and Visitor Experience Director at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “For our first series, we have chosen three very different books featuring both fiction and nonfiction stories we believe will provide a very diverse perspective of the many roles the Great Lakes play in our daily lives—past, present, and future.”

The featured books for the inaugural series include: The Dockporter: A Mackinac Island Novel by Dave McVeigh & Tim Bolone (January), The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits by Tiya Miles (February), and The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas by Jerry Dennis. The museum is limiting the size of the group to provide an optimal setting to facilitate discussion and if they reach capacity, will keep a waiting list with the hope of opening additional program sessions.

Registration to participate in the Great Lakes book club is FREE but required. Participants can choose to purchase the book(s) at the museum store by visiting the museum in person or shopping online at nmglstore.org.

For more information, call 419-214-5000, visit our event page here.