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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.

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.