Executive Director of Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum to Deliver Final 2021 Lecture

November 18, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) On Wednesday, December 1, at 7 p.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) will welcome Bruce Lynn, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, to deliver the final presentation in their annual fall lecture series titled Braving the Waves: Life-Saving Service on the Shipwreck Coast.

“The desolate shoreline between Whitefish Point and Pictured Rocks has come to be known as Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast,” explains Carrie Sowden, the museum’s Archaeological and Research Director who moderates the hybrid lecture series. “This presentation will explore the stories of the ‘Storm Warriors’ along the desolate shoreline between Whitefish Point and Pictured Rocks to shed light on a little-known chapter of Great Lakes history.”

As in the previous lectures, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will offer this presentation as a hybrid event using Zoom with one noted difference—the presenter will be delivering the lecture virtually. Individuals wishing to participate in person may come to the museum for a watch party and be a part of the live-streamed question and answer session following the presentation.

The lecture is free to all, but registration is required. Participants can choose when registering to take part in person at the museum or online via Zoom. Donations are encouraged and can be given upon registration.

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

Museum Welcomes “Christmas Tree Ship” to Spark Holiday Spirit and Support Holiday Needs

November 11, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) On Saturday, December 4 from 1-4 p.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes will welcome the arrival of the Christmas Tree Ship. Together in partnership with Geo. Gradel Co., individuals are invited to purchase a Christmas Tree for themselves or a family in need and then watch Santa arrive with a tugboat of trees.   

“On November 23, 1912, the schooner Rouse Simmons sank while carrying Christmas trees,” shares Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Director of Education and Visitor Experience. “Known as the Christmas Tree Ship, her captain, lovingly referred to as “Captain Santa”, was remembered for giving trees to families in need.”

Spectators can see Santa Claus and a boatload of Christmas trees navigate the Maumee River via Facebook Live and then watch in-person as the decorated tugboat docks behind the National Museum of the Great Lakes. Once at the museum, Santa will take his place for the remainder of the day atop the deck of the Museum Tug Ohio, where children can deliver Christmas wishes from afar to Santa via the Great Lakes tradition of “Mail by the Pail” delivery.

Inspired by the original Christmas Tree Ship tale, participants can pre-purchase a live Christmas Tree for themselves and/or donate a tree or gift card to a family in need. The museum has partnered with United Way of Greater Toledo and 2-1-1 and are working with East Toledo Family Center,  Family House, Lucas County Children’s Services, and Sylvania Area Family Services to distribute trees and holiday support to families in need.

This year, in collaboration with the East Toledo community, the museum also chose to move the event to the afternoon to encourage visitors to participate in the neighboring East Toledo Holiday Parade beginning at 11 a.m. and traveling along East Broadway and Starr Avenue. 

This is a FREE outdoor event and will be open to the general public. In addition, admission to the museum exhibits will be free for all who purchase a tree, donate a tree, or donate towards a gift card.

To learn more about the event, purchase a tree for yourself or a family in need, or donate holiday gift card support call 419-214-5000 or visit our event page here.

Individuals interested in learning more about receiving a donated tree are encouraged to call 2-1-1.

History Happy Hour Returns inside the National Museum of the Great Lakes

November 1, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) On Thursday, November 18 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes will host History Happy Hour: Rogues, Rebels, and Radicals. The after-hours event allows guests to enjoy happy hour drinks while learning more about Great Lakes historical characters who forged their own path or lived on the wrong side of the law.

“For our second History Happy Hour we decided to focus on some of the seedier individuals on the Great Lakes—lawbreakers, religious dissenters, and pirates are just a few of the characters we will be highlighting,” says Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Education and Visitor Experience Director at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “This time we also are partnering with Toledo Spirits to design specialty themed cocktails for the evening.”

The museum’s History Happy Hour series mixes maritime history with everyday fun by giving guests an opportunity to grab a drink and check out the museum exhibits after hours, while also providing an exclusive experience to interact with history. The event costs $30 for members or $35 for non-members and includes light snacks, specialty cocktails, beer, wine, and soft drinks, plus interactive story-telling while roaming the museum.

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

New Micro-Exhibit Is Next Featured Topic of Museum Lecture Series

October 29, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) On Wednesday, November 10, at 7 p.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) will present the second of three lectures in their annual fall lecture series titled The Making of Bradstreet’s Disaster. The presentation will explore the history and meaning behind the museum’s new micro-exhibit—Bradstreet’s Disaster.

“Between October 18-19, 1764 a great storm blew up and destroyed almost half a fleet of bateau and canoes being led by Col. John Bradstreet near Rocky River on the south shore of Lake Erie,” explains Carrie Sowden, the museum’s Archaeological & Research Director who provided curatorial oversight to the micro-exhibit and will be presenting the lecture. “Our goal is to provide a discussion around the exhibit artifacts, their discoveries, how they relate to Col. Bradstreet’s fleet, and the relationship between museum and artifact hunter.” 

The National Museum of the Great Lakes will offer this lecture as a hybrid event. For those joining in person at the museum, the exhibit will be open to tour before and after the presentation. Individuals joining virtually will have the opportunity to view the presentation and participate in the Q&A session during the live-streamed event. 

The lecture is free to all, but registration is required. Participants can choose when registering to take part in the lecture in-person at the museum or online via Zoom. Donations are encouraged and can be given upon registration.

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

Museum Hosts Exclusive Tours in Honor of S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Tragic Anniversary

October 21, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) – In recognition of the 46th Anniversary of the loss of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, the National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) is offering a weekend of special tours on November 6 and 7. The Fitzgerald Experience is a guided tour of the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship, using the lake freighter and its similarities to the Edmund Fitzgerald to discuss the events of November 10, 1975, theories surrounding the vessel’s sinking, and stories about the 29 crew members who were lost.

“This tour was developed to provide a more experiential and hands-on way to learn about the tragedy of the ‘Mighty Fitz’,” recalls Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Education and Visitor Experience Director. “Many from the crew were from our museum’s hometown of Toledo or the surrounding area and the vessel’s sinking deeply impacted the lives of individuals both near and far.”

Although closed for the season beginning November 1, The Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship will reopen one last time this season exclusively to tour guests for the unique experience. Each tour will be limited to a small group of no more than 8 people and lasts approximately 75 minutes. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Due to tour popularity and size limitations, it is strongly recommended that tickets be purchased in advance. Guests can also take advantage of an additional 10-15% discount on museum store purchases.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit our Fitzgerald Experience event page or call 419-214-5000.

Boo on the Boat

“Boo on the Boat” Halloween Tradition Continues

October 14, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) Beginning Friday, October 29 through Halloween Day, the National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) invites visitors to trick-or-treat aboard two of Toledo’s most historic haunts—the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and the Museum Tug Ohio

“Boo on the Boat has become a fun tradition for so many,” shares Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Director of Education and Visitor Experience. “This year, instead of just being a single-day event, we’ve decided to host the family-friendly fun over the course of the entire extended Halloween weekend.”

Young “goblins and ghouls” can trick-or-treat in costume from the pilot houses to the galleys and everywhere in between while on a scavenger hunt for goodies. Treats will be distributed using pre-portioned, sealed bags at stations to help youth explore Great Lakes history in a fun, age-appropriate way. Additionally, on Saturday, October 30, NMGL will welcome back artist Don Lee to draw free caricatures. Children with food allergies will have access to non-food treats in alignment with the Teal Pumpkin Project. 

Boo on the Boat activities are included with the price of general museum and ship admission. The event is free for members. Guests may consider additional savings and access to the museum year-round by purchasing a membership. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

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

New ‘Bradstreet’s Disaster’ Temporary Micro-exhibit Takes Visitors Back in Time

October 12, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) The National Museum of the Great Lakes has opened up a temporary new “micro-exhibit” highlighting the story of Col. John Bradstreet’s disastrous campaign during “Pontiac’s Rebellion” after the French and Indian War. 

“It was October 18, 1764, when Col. John Bradstreet took upwards of 60 bateaus and 9 canoes and landed near what is now Rocky River, Ohio,” shares Carrie Sowden, the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ Archaeological and Research Director. “Overnight a vicious storm wiped out almost half the fleet. When all was said and done, Col. Bradstreet’s entire campaign was not just unsuccessful, but disastrous.” 

In the years since, remnants from Bradstreet’s disaster have appeared on and been discovered around Rocky River’s beaches. The findings continue to tell the story of this Great Lakes history era. “Among the artifacts in the collection are a swivel gun and accessories,” explains Mrs. Sowden. “There is even a highly decorated piece yet to be identified. Who knows, maybe we can learn more about this mystery item through exhibit display?” 

The “Bradstreet’s Disaster” micro-exhibit is included with the price of general admission and is scheduled to stay up through the Winter of 2022. The museum is also hosting a presentation at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10 to further explore the historical context around Bradstreet’s Disaster, the making of the micro-exhibit, and the archaeological finds from Rocky River. For more information, call 419-214-5000, visit our event page here.

Fall Lecture Series sets sail with a “Message in a Bottle

October 6, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) On Wednesday, October 20, at 7 p.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) will begin their annual fall lecture series with “Bottled Goodbyes”—a conversation exploring famous messages that have floated ashore. Presented by Ric Mixter and based on his newest book Bottled Goodbyes—Messages from Shipwreck and Aviation Disasters, the lecture tells tales from the Great Storm of 1913, to the development of the radio (which ultimately led to a decrease in bottled messages).

“The storied ‘message-in-a-bottle’ is a concept that intrigues many of us,” says Christopher Gillcrist, the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ Executive Director. “There have been alleged bottled messages connected to U.S. Presidents, and discoveries of bottles capturing the last days of lost souls sailing the Inland Seas. Mr. Mixter introduces a historical phenomenon connected to every one of our five Great Lakes and beyond.”  

Ric Mixter is an Emmy nominated documentary filmmaker, author, and historian who has also served as a SCUBA cameraman on underwater expeditions to the Great Lakes’ largest shipwrecks. He has interviewed dozens of shipwreck survivors and consistently delivers standing-room-only crowds for his repeat presentations all over the Great Lakes.   

This is the first in a series of lectures in the museum’s 2021 fall series and will be offered as a hybrid event. Participants can choose when registering to take part in the lecture in person at the museum or online via Zoom. Event registration is required but free. Donations are encouraged and can be given upon registration.

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

Labor Day Free Admission to Union Members

August 31, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) The National Museum of the Great Lakes will open its doors FREE on Labor Day (Monday, September 6) to all union members and union retirees.

“The museum recognizes the importance of honoring the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States,” says the museum’s Executive Director Chris Gillcrist.

Labor Day is also the last day of the museum’s temporary exhibit Jim Hoffman: The Photographic Life of Toledo’s Original Boatnerd and the final day of Freighter Golf—a putt-putt hole-in-one challenge aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. Both the temporary exhibit and putt-putt challenge are included with museum ship admission.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online at nmgl.org, however, reservations are not required. Proof of union membership will be requested upon arrival.

Museum Ship Installs Temporary Putt-putt Challenge as the Countdown to Solheim Continues

August 17, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio) To celebrate the sport of golf and the City of Toledo (host to this year’s international Solheim Cup) the National Museum of the Great Lakes has temporarily installed a custom-built putt-putt green onboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. Visitors to the Museum Ship are being challenged to sink a hole-in-one to take home a special prize.

“Spanning nearly 30 ft. across the museum ship’s deck and overlooking the ‘Mighty Maumee’ and Downtown Toledo, the ‘Freighter Golf’ putt-putt green aims to challenge and provide fun for any age or skill level,” shares Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Director of Education and Visitor Experience. “We hope to encourage golf enthusiasts to visit the east side of the river bank and look forward to being a part of the Solheim Cup’s excitement.” 

“Freighter Golf” putt-putt green will open for use Thursday, August 19, and remain available through Monday, September 6. Access to the green is included with Museum Ship admission and the putt-putt green and hole-in-one challenge will be open for visitors during the regular museum hours of 10 a.m – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon – 5 p.m. Sunday.

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