COVID-19 Update

After careful consideration and the recent urging of Governor DeWine along with the recommendations of the Lucas County Health Department, the National Museum of the Great Lakes has made the decision to close to the public until further notice effective 5 p.m., Saturday, March 14.

In the weeks to come, we look forward to exploring new engagement opportunities to help visitors connect with Great Lakes history virtually—including increased access to our museum through virtual tours and the launch of our first online exhibit The Port of Toledo: Then and Now. We will continue to connect with our National Museum of the Great Lakes / Great Lakes Historical Society members and supporters through the distribution of our quarterly Inland Seas journal and Chadburn Newsletter / Chadburn(e).

As we move through the challenges ahead, we encourage you to consider supporting us by making a donation online or shopping on our online Museum Store.

The staff and board of the National Museum of the Great Lakes will continue to monitor announcements by officials surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and will reassess our public access as new information becomes available.

2019 NMGL Annual Holiday Card Released

November 7, 2019 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes today revealed their 2019 Holiday Card for purchase. For the past fifty-one years, Director Emeritus, Alexander B. Cook has painted a watercolor that is used exclusively by the organization to create the holiday card that is then sold to the public to benefit the museum. The museum estimates that the sale of holiday cards featuring Alex Cook’s watercolor has raised over $100,000 for the organization over the past fifty years.

“At age 95, Alex Cook is like the energizer bunny of marine artists,” said Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the museum. “His paint brushes are never more than a few feet away from him at all times.”

This year’s image features two Great Lakes Towing Company tugs in the foreground with an Interlake Steamship freighter in the lock. Cook said, “I have loved tugboats since my earliest days in St. Joseph, Michigan, and I thought this year I would include two Great Lakes Towing Tugs because of the company’s wonderful gift of the Tug Ohio to the museum.”

Gillcrist noted that the cards have become somewhat of a collector’s piece over the years with dozens of people ordering cards year after year. Cards can be ordered online at nmglstore.org or by calling 419-214-5000 extension 200. The cards are shipped in packs of ten cards and envelopes for $16.95 plus shipping and handling.

“Christmas Tree Ship” to Arrive with Santa and Holiday Trees

November 14, 2019 (Toledo, Ohio) – On Saturday, December 7 the National Museum of the Great Lakes will welcome the arrival of Santa Claus and a tugboat full of Christmas Trees. Spectators can watch Santa and his boatload of trees dock behind the museum around noon, pick-up pre-ordered trees and enjoy holiday snacks with Santa.

The magical experience helps honor and tell the story of the Rouse Simmons—a Great Lakes schooner built in 1868 serving the Chicago area and remembered most notably as the “Christmas Tree Ship.”

“Every year, the original “Christmas Tree Ship,” along with her captain, Herman E. Schuenemann, would arrive carrying a cargo of holiday trees. He was known for giving trees to Chicago families who couldn’t afford to buy them,” says Ellen Kennedy, Director of Education and Visitor Experience for the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Like the original ship, Toledo’s very own “Christmas Tree Ship” will come bearing Christmas Trees that can be purchased ahead of time or purchased to donate to families in need. Additionally, the museum will open its doors to the community between 10 a.m. -1 p..m for guests to enjoy the museum, watch the tug’s arrival, pick up their trees and meet Santa.

“This year we are working with East Toledo Family Center to provide Christmas trees for local families,” says the museum’s Director of Communications and Development, Kate Fineske. “The trees are approximately 5-7 feet tall and cost $45—plus, include the unforgettable and unique delivery by Santa via a Geo. Gradel Co. tugboat.”

Trees must be pre-ordered by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3. There will be no walk-up sales. To purchase a tree for yourself or one to be donated to a family in need, visit ryanl51.sg-host.com or call 419-214-5000.

Launch of Initiative Connecting Lucas County Students to History through Free Field Trips and Outreach Programs

October 25, 2020 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) is launching a new initiative, All Aboard for History!, meant to provide third through sixth grade Lucas County students the opportunity to forge a deeper connection to Great Lakes history. The 5-year initiative will allow up to 8,000 local students to take advantage of a complimentary visit to the museum or bring the museum’s programming to their classroom.

“The National Museum of the Great Lakes is committed to ensuring school systems throughout the Toledo metropolitan area have access to quality, curriculum-based experiences promoting social studies and history,” explains NMGL Executive Director Chris Gillcrist. “We want to make sure kids have access to first-hand experiences which build their interest, knowledge, and passion around the Great Lakes and its historical significance.”

The museum has secured two $10,000 gifts to launch the program—with the initial gift coming from Key Bank and a more recent gift from the Cleveland Cliffs Foundation. Operating on the Great Lakes since 1855, and currently building the East Toledo iron plant set to open next summer, Cleveland Cliffs representatives say they are thrilled to encourage more students to learn about Great Lakes history, as well as the social and economic impact of one of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems.

“The Cleveland-Cliffs Foundation has a long history of supporting quality educational initiatives within the local communities in which we operate to help prepare youth for their future,” says Ania Ediger, Manager, Government Relations and Specialist, Environmental Legislative Affairs.

Teachers interested in taking advantage of this free learning experience and individuals and corporate entities seeking to donate to the program can learn more by visiting ryanl51.sg-host.com/all-aboard or calling 419-214-5000.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Photography Exhibit Opens at the National Museum of the Great Lakes

Great Lakes Shipwreck Photography Exhibit Opens at the National Museum of the Great Lakes

(Toledo) The National Museum of the Great Lakes announced today the opening of a new temporary exhibit — Disasters of the Deep: Underwater Photography of Great Lakes Shipwrecks which will run through September 1, 2019. The exhibit features the works of ten underwater photographers covering shipwrecks across all five of the Great Lakes. Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the museum stated, “Nothing interests our visitors more than shipwrecks and what better way to explore this topic in more detail than by using the photography of those who risk life and limb to explore and to document these submerged historical relics.” The photographers chosen for this show are Andy Morrison, Jitka Hanakova, Becky Kagan Schott, Tamara Thomsen, Jeremy Bannister, Warren Lo, Terry Irvine, Cal Kothrade, Jack Papes, and Jeff Lindsay. Each has a unique perspective and approach to underwater photography. According to Gillcrist, “Not only does underwater photography help teach us history but the images themselves are also works of art.” The ten photographers reside across the Great Lakes region. Dozens of shipwrecks are represented but some of the more famous shipwrecks explored are the Daniel J. Morrell, Gunilda, Rouse Simmons, and Cedarville. The exhibit is offered digitally on large flat screen monitors. There are over a 130 images in the exhibit. Gillcrist explained that this exhibit could not be shown at the museum in a traditional format. “We do not have the space to hang 130 plus photographs.” More importantly, by showing the photographs in this way, the space could be transformed to feel more like you are actually underwater when viewing the images. The exhibit is currently open and runs through September 1, 2019. Admission to the exhibit is included in the general admission price to the museum.

Specifics

What: Disasters of the Deep: Underwater Photography of Great Lakes Shipwrecks, A temporary Exhibit at the National Museum of the Great Lakes

When: Running Now until September 1, 2019.

Admission: Admission to the temporary exhibit is included in the price of regular admission to the museum. $17 per person with discounts for seniors, teens, and children under 6 are free.

Where: National Museum of the Great Lakes 1701 Front Street Toledo, Ohio 43605

For More Information call 419-214-5000 or www.ryanl51.sg-host.com.

Museum Hours: Monday through Saturday: 10AM-5PM, Sunday 12PM-5PM

The press can contact Christopher Gillcrist at 216-956-9734

Two Tug Christenings—One Huge Weekend at the National Museum of the Great Lakes

Two Tug Christenings—One Huge Weekend at the National Museum of the Great Lakes

(Toledo) On Friday, June 21, 2019, two tugs will be formally christened at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo Ohio. The first tug to be christened was donated to the museum by The Great Lakes Towing Company in 2018, and will be known as the Museum Tug Ohio. The National Museum of the Great Lakes has spent the last nine months restoring the tug. It will be a feature exhibit at the museum and the Maumee River’s second floating museum ship. The second tug to be christened is The Great Lakes Towing Company’s newest tug, also named Ohio. This tug will serve the maritime community as a member of The Great Lakes Towing Company’s fleet of tugs that operate across the Great Lakes and on the Maumee River. Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes stated “We believe this event is the first of its kind on the Great Lakes and perhaps beyond—the christening of a museum tug that shares its name with the tug built to take its place in the commercial towing fleet! The past meets the present and future all in one wonderful event!”

The addition of the Museum Tug Ohio represents only the second commercial museum ship on the Maumee River—the first being the Col. James M. Schoonmaker. Thirty years ago, the Schoonmaker (as the Willis B. Boyer) was introduced to Toledo as its first museum ship. “It’s been too long since a new museum ship came to Toledo” said Gillcrist. The addition of a museum tug fills a significant void in the permanent exhibit plan of NMGL.

The Great Lakes Towing Company’s new commercial tug represents the application of cutting edge technology in tug design. The new Damen 1907 Ice Tug was built at The Great Lakes Towing Company’s shipyard in Cleveland. In 2019, The Great Lakes Towing Company Ohio will celebrate 120 years of serving as an invaluable resource to the Great Lakes maritime community. President of The Great Lakes Towing Company, Joe Starck says, “The new tug is aptly named OHIO: She was built in Ohio, by an Ohio shipyard, for an Ohio-based company, will operate on Ohio waters and serve Ohio ports. In addition, her construction cost was supported by the Ohio EPA and she replacing the historical Tug Ohio. We memorialize the Museum Tug OHIO as we celebrate her modern successor that will continue to keep cargo moving, here in Toledo, for generations.”

The christenings will take place at the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ commercial dock located behind the building on the Maumee River. Guests and attendees will observe from the dock and patio behind the museum. Christenings of commercial vessels on the Great Lakes have a long and illustrious history. These events often drew thousands of spectators and VIP’s from the maritime industry from across the country.

The Sponsor of the Museum Tug Ohio is long-time NMGL employee and volunteer Mrs. Jane Smith. Mrs. Smith will break a bottle of beer over the bow rail of the Museum Tug Ohio instead of the traditional bottle of champagne. According to Gillcrist when the boat was christened the first time in Chicago in 1903, beer was used because the boat was going to serve the city of Milwaukee—the city that made beer famous! Gillcrist noted that Mrs. Smith was chosen as the sponsor because she best represents the volunteer spirit that makes projects like this one possible.

Included with the press kit is a Museum Tug Ohio Fact Sheet with details of the vessels 115-year history on the Great Lakes. During its career as a fire boat in Milwaukee it participated in some of the most important disasters in Milwaukee history. As a tug, it logged more miles of commercial activity than any other tug on the Great Lakes. “This tug tells a story that no other tug can tell” said Gillcrist. “How many tugs towed not one but two navy submarines on the Great Lakes!”

Tug Ohio Weekend Activities Schedule

Friday’s Activities

When: Friday, June 21, 2019—11:00 AM Where: National Museum of the Great Lakes, 1701 Front Street, Toledo Ohio. What: Christening Ceremony, tours of the Museum Tug Ohio and dockside viewing of new Tug Ohio (the public cannot tour the new tug, but a digital exhibit of its capabilities will be available).

Specifics:

  • $25 per person includes admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes, and the Schoonmaker as well as tickets to the christening activities. (members of NMGL pay $20 per person)
  • Tickets are available at www.ryanl51.sg-host.com for on-line purchase or by calling NMGL at 419-214-5000 x 0.
  • Tickets to the event are limited and must be purchased prior to the event. No walk-up ticket sales available.
  • The National Museum of the Great Lakes will be closed to all other visitors on Friday, June 21.

Saturday and Sunday’s Activities

When: Saturday June 22, 2019 (10 AM-5 PM) and Sunday, June 23, 2019 (12 PM-5 PM) Where: National Museum of the Great Lakes, 1701 Front Street Toledo, Ohio What: On board tours of the Museum Tug Ohio and dockside viewing of the new Tug Ohio (the public cannot tour the new tug, but a digital exhibit of its capabilities will be available).

Specifics:

  • $17 per person includes admission to NMGL, and the Schoonmaker as well as admission to the Museum Tug Ohio.
  • Members of NMGL are free.
  • Tickets are available at the admission desk at the National Museum of the Great Lakes on Saturday and Sunday.

Press Contact Information: Press can contact Christopher Gillcrist of the National Museum of the Great Lakes at 216-956-9734 or through email at glhs1@inlandseas.org Gillcrist will provide contact information with a representative from The Great Lakes Towing Company upon request.

National Museum of the Great Lakes Honors Military on Memorial Day

National Museum of the Great Lakes Honors Military on Memorial Day

(Toledo) The National Museum of the Great Lakes announced today that it will provide free admission to the museum to all active duty military and veterans on Memorial Day, May 27, 2019. Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the museum stated, “It is an honor to have those who sacrificed in the past and those sacrificing today at our facility. Free admission is the least we can do.”

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is an award winning museum dedicated to preserving and making known the important history of our Great Lakes, and how that history changed the historical landscape of the United States and Canada. The museum is open every day between 10AM-5PM (Monday-Saturday) and 12PM-5PM (Sunday). For more information go to www.ryanl51.sg-host.com or call 419-214-5000 ext. 200. The museum is located at 1701 Front Street Toledo Ohio 43605.

Book Release: Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery

Book Release: Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery

Author Jim Kennard and NMGL launch fascinating book about Great Lakes shipwrecks.
Proceeds benefit the museum and its underwater archaeology program.

TOLEDO, OHIO (March 27, 2019) – For decades, teams of shipwreck enthusiasts have been searching for sunken ships in the New York State waters of Lake Ontario. Using SCUBA equipment, simple depth finders, sophisticated side-scan sonar equipment and eventually with remote operated vehicles, they set out to unlock the secrets of the past.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes, is excited to announce the release of a new book titled Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery. This book contains the stories of these long lost shipwrecks and the journeys of the underwater explorers who found them, written by Jim Kennard, Roland Stevens, and Roger Pawlowski.

“Searching for ships in the Great Lakes demands hours spent on research; large expenditures for technical equipment; weeks, months and sometimes years looking for a wreck; plus a touch of madness that keeps a team together on an elusive quest.” said Jim Kennard, lead author. “The information that we have discovered over the years has provided us with valuable insight into Great Lakes maritime history.” Kennard continued, “The book is truly a first class product that we and the National Museum of the Great Lakes can be proud to offer the public. I expect that Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery will be of interest to readers for a very long time.”

Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery details the history and discovery of over 26 shipwrecks in Lake Ontario, many of which have connections to other communities across the Great Lakes including Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago. The book includes over 150 illustrations, photographs and drawings including underwater photography of some of the shipwrecks. It also contains original artwork by artist Roland Stevens who was brought onto the team to document the view of the entire shipwreck when only small portions could be seen on camera.

“One hundred years from now, Jim Kennard will likely be considered one of the greatest Great Lakes shipwreck explorers in history,” Said Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “This work documents his important discoveries that help the rest of us to understand and appreciate the majesty of Great Lakes history.”

Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery was funded in-part by a grant from the Ritter and Shirley Shumway Foundation out of Rochester, New York. All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the National Museum of the Great Lakes and its underwater archaeology program.

The museum will host a series of four (4) Meet the Author/Book Signing events upon its release. The first two will take place on Wednesday, May 1st at 4:30pm and 7:00pm as part of the museum’s Spring Lecture Series. The second will be on Thursday, May 2nd at 6:30pm in Avon, Ohio and the fourth will take place in Rochester, New York at a date yet to be determined.

Pre-sale of the book is currently available at a cost of $21.95 at www.nmglstore.org.  NMGL members receive a 10% discount.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Kennard has been diving and exploring the lakes of the northeast United States since 1970. He’s found more than 200 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the New York Finger Lakes, and in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Utilizing his background as an electrical engineer, he built a side-scan sonar system that located many of these shipwrecks. Significant discoveries include the two oldest shipwrecks discovered on the Great Lakes, the 1780 British warship HMS Ontario and the sloop Washington lost in 1803. In 1983 he found a unique horse powered ferryboat in Lake Champlain. All of these discoveries received worldwide attention in the news media. Discoveries made by Jim and his shipwreck teams have appeared in a number of publications including National Geographic. Sea Technology, Inland Seas, Wreck Diving, Skin Diver and several Rochester, New York publications. He’s appeared on Discovery Channel, CBC, BBC and FOX News.

In 2013, Kennard was selected as Fellow of The Explorers Club. Kennard received the Joyce. S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation from the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History in 2015 for documenting the stories of Great Lakes shipwreck on his website www.shipwreckworld.com.

Kennard graduated from Clarkson University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1966. In addition to searching for elusive shipwrecks, Jim has been an amateur radio operator since he was 13 and started hiking at 65. He’s climbed over 100 peaks in the Catskill Mountains and all off the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. A native of Peekskill, he lives in Fairport, New Yok with his wife Marilyn.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM
Founded in 1944, the Great Lakes Historical Society has been preserving our shared cultural history by publishing a quarterly journal Inland Seas® since 1945; by operating a maritime museum since 1952; by offering educational programs to the general public since 1956; by conducting underwater archaeological research across the Great Lakes since 2001; and by managing the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. The opening of the National Museum of the Great Lakes enables the Great Lakes Historical Society to continue its mission to preserve and make known the important history of the Great Lakes.

WHO:

Shipwreck Explorer and Author, Jim Kennard

WHAT:

Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery Book Release

WHEN/WHERE:

Wednesday, May 1 at 4:30pm and 7:00pm
National Museum of the Great Lakes
1701 Front St., Toledo, OH 43605

Thursday, May 2 at 6:30pm
Cambria Suites Avon
35600 Detroit Rd.
Avon, OH 44011

The National Museum of the Great Lakes hosts Volunteer Open House; Opportunity to win Disney Hopper Passes at Spring Park Clean-Up; NMGL Spring hours resume

The National Museum of the Great Lakes hosts Volunteer Open House;
Opportunity to win Disney Hopper Passes at Spring Park Clean-Up;
NMGL Spring hours resume

April 1, 2019 (Toledo, OH) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes will be hosting a series of volunteer days to provide those in the community an opportunity to get involved with the museum while helping us prepare for the upcoming busy season.

Volunteer Open House – Saturday, April 6th @ 2:00pm.
This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in volunteering at the museum to get a better idea of what we are looking for and how we can match volunteer talents with one of the many opportunities available. We are looking for tour guides, field trip facilitators, museum exhibit attendants, greeters, landscapers, weed pullers, deck swabbers, brass polishers, cobweb chasers, window washers, letter folders, label stickers, litter collectors and so much more. If you can imagine it, we probably need the help.

Light refreshments will be available so please let us know if you are planning to attend so that we can plan accordingly. Please RSVP at – www.inlandseas.org/events

Spring Park Clean-Up – Saturday & Sunday, April 27th & 28th @ 9:00am-5:00pm both days
NMGL is hosting a Spring Volunteer Park Clean-up weekend. NMGL is partnering with the Disney Points of Light program to promote family involvement within our community while preparing the museum grounds for a busy spring season. Whether you can plant flowers, spread mulch or pick up trash, we have jobs for all ages.

Bring the whole family! Whoever volunteers a minimum of two hours of their time, big or little, will be entered into a raffle to win Disney Hopper Passes. The more volunteers we have on the grounds, the more Hopper Passes we get to raffle off. Increase your odds of winning by getting more people involved.

Please RSVP at – www.inlandseas.org/events

Spring Hours Resume
Beginning Tuesday, April 2, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will resume their spring operating hours, which are:

Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday: 12:00-5:00pm
Monday: CLOSED

Once the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship opens on Wednesday, May 1, the museum will be open seven days a week through October 31.

Monday-Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday: 12:00-5:00pm

About the Museum

Founded in 1944, the Great Lakes Historical Society has been preserving our shared cultural history by publishing a quarterly journal Inland Seas® since 1945; by operating a maritime museum since 1952; by offering educational programs to the general public since 1956; by conducting underwater archaeological research across the Great Lakes since 2001; and by managing the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. The opening of the National Museum of the Great Lakes enables the Great Lakes Historical Society to continue its mission to preserve and make known the important history of the Great Lakes.

WHAT:

Volunteer Open House and Disney Points of Light Spring Clean-Up

WHEN:

Saturday, April 6th @ 2:00pm
Saturday, April 27th from 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, April 28th from 9:00am-5:00pm

WHERE:

National Museum of the Great Lakes
1701 Front Street, Toledo, OH 43606