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Great Lakes Maritime Art Temporary Exhibit drives Museum and Community College Partnership

Friday, August 26, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio)The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) is partnering with Owens Community College (OCC) to feature maritime art from the 19th and 20th century through a temporary exhibit at the Walter E. Terhune Gallery at Owens Community College’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The exhibit opens to the public Monday, August 29 and will remain available through Friday, October 21.

“The museum is always looking for ways to increase access to Great Lakes history,” explains Kate Fineske, NMGL’s Senior Director of Institutional Advancement. “We began collaborative discussions over a year ago and are thrilled to have found an opportunity to showcase part of our 250+ two-dimensional art collection on the campus.”

Owens Community College will host an opening reception for the temporary exhibit on Tuesday, August 30 and will also shine a spotlight on the exhibit in October during the first concert of their 7th Annual Accent on the Arts! Series featuring Russ Franzen. The latter free concert highlights a maritime artist and acts as an educational experience—designed, booked, promoted and presented by Owens Community College Music Business Technology students. 

“Mr. Franzen is an acoustic storyteller sharing original songs about lighthouses, lake boats, shipwrecks, canals and life along the Great Lakes,” recalls Denise Grupp-Verbon, Internship Manager, at Owens Community College’s School of Liberal Arts. “The museum’s art exhibit provided inspiration for an excellent student-focus project on this subject!” 

The Walter E. Terhune Gallery is located within Owens Community College’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts and is open for free to the public during set times each week. For more information on the exhibit and related events visit or

Golf Aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship Returns in Time for Dana Open!

Thursday, August 18, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – Beginning Thursday, August 25, the National Museum of the Great Lakes invites visitors to take a swing (or two!) on our custom built putting greens aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. Created to celebrate the sport of golf, this year the event boasts not just one, but two putting greens and is scheduled to coincide with the Dana Open Presented by Marathon, an LPGA tour stop taking place nearby in Sylvania, Ohio.

“Spanning nearly 30 ft. across the museum ship’s deck and overlooking the ‘Mighty Maumee’ and Downtown Toledo, the ‘Freighter Golf’ putting greens are both complete with maritime-themed obstacles and aim to challenge and provide fun for any age or skill level,” shares Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Director of Education and Visitor Experience.

“Freighter Golf” will open for use through Sunday, September 11. Access to the green is included with Museum Ship admission and visitors are being challenged to sink a hole-in-one to take home a special prize and be entered in a drawing for a free museum membership. The putting 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 additional information visit or call 419-214-5000.

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Gathering 55 Years After Ship’s Sinking Prompts Museum’s Special Offsite Lecture

Thursday, July 21, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio)On Saturday, August 13, at 1 p.m., the National Museum of the Great Lakes will host a special lecture at Fifth Third Center Auditorium titled: Daniel J. Morrell: Lost but No Longer Forgotten. The presentation, given by Great Lakes marine historian John DeBeck, will share stories from his research about the loss of the Morrell as well as discuss new discoveries and include the dive footage from DeBeck’s research team.

“In November of 1966, the Daniel J. Morrell, broke in half in a strong storm on Lake Huron— taking with her 28 of the 29 crewmen, “shares Chris Gillcrist, Executive Director of the National Musuem of the Great Lakes. “Only one of her crew, Dennis Hale, lived to tell the story of what happened.”

In 2018, presenter John DeBeck began the research that would become his book The Daniel J. Morrell: Lost but No Longer Forgotten. DeBeck was a 33 year friend of Dennis Hale, who passed away in 2015. DeBeck spent months re-locating the families of the 29 crew members to learn their stories. With his research bringing up more questions than answers, DeBeck then assembled a team to get to the bottom of what really caused the ship to sink.

“After being separated for 55 years, many of the families and important guests stated they would like to have an annual gathering to stay in touch,” recalls DeBeck about his upcoming lecture in Toledo. “As a fair number of the families are within a day’s driving distance or less of Toledo, I thought working in partnership with the museum would help provide the ideal place for our gathering.” 

Due to capacity limitations and because a large crowd is expected to attend, the lecture will not be held at the National Museum of the Great Lakes and instead will take place at the auditorium located on the 2nd floor of Fifth Third Center. Tickets are $5 for NMGL Members and $8 for non-members. For additional information and to purchase tickets visit or call 419-214-5000.

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Museum’s New Self-guided Walking Tour Explores The Maritime History of Toledo’s Port

Thursday, July 14, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) is releasing a new, stand-alone product for individuals to explore the story behind the museum’s hometown maritime history. Using VoiceMap, a self-guided tour app, individuals can travel back in time with author, storyteller, and curator Tedd Long on a 90-minute walk along the heart of downtown Toledo’s riverfront while sightseeing, boat watching and enjoying the winding path along the Maumee. 

“There are so many fascinating maritime stories to explore in Toledo—from why Toledo’s Warehouse District was centered on Swan Creek, to how the canals helped to transform the Glass City, and how a change in wind direction saved downtown Toledo in 1894,” shares Mr. Long, who donated his time and talents to support the museum’s mission through this new product. “Stories like the crash of the Yuma into the Cherry Street Bridge and the building of the first 5-masted sailing vessel the David Dows help to highlight a whole new perspective on Toledo, the Maumee River, and the largest landmass port on the Great Lakes.”

The walking tour begins across the river from the museum at Middlegrounds Metropark and follows a path to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge and back. The Port of Toledo Walking Tour costs $5.99 and can be purchased at the Museum or online at Once purchased, the walking tour can be accessed at the owner’s convenience. Individuals can make a full day or multi-day activity of a museum visit and the Port of Toledo Walking Tour as well as take the tour as a stand-alone activity. Through the generous donation of Tedd Long, all proceeds from the tour purchase support the National Museum of the Great Lakes and its mission, to preserve and make known the history of the Great Lakes. For additional information visit or call 419-214-5000.





About the Product: This tour was created in partnership with NMGL by author, storyteller, and curator Tedd Long. Mr. Long has been studying Maumee Valley history for over 30 years and works to share local stories in many ways, including on his website The Port of Toledo Tour was created using VoiceMap—a location-aware mobile application that works by associating voice narration, music and sound effects to specific GPS coordinates. VoiceMap is available as both an Andorid and iOS app and downloadable from the Apple or Google Play stores.


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Raffle Begins in Support of Great Lakes History – Win Great Lakes Experiences

Thursday, July 7, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes is proud to announce the launch of the 2022 Luck of the Lakes—a raffle dedicated to supporting the museum’s mission to preserve and make known the history of the Great Lakes. This year one lucky individual will again have the chance to visit the breathtaking sights of the Great Lakes aboard an 11 day American Queen Voyages Splendor of the Great Lakes cruise.

“The Luck of the Lakes Raffle allows us to raise funds and awareness in support of Great Lakes history while also giving individuals an opportunity to gain once-in-a-lifetime Great Lakes experiences,” says Kate Fineske, the museum’s Senior Director of Institutional Advancement. “The work we do wouldn’t be possible without the money raised through this raffle and our H2Oh! Gala—which together became our single largest fundraiser of the year. ” 

Winners are selected during the museum’s H2Oh! Gala held Saturday, September 24. The Grand Prize raffle winner will get to glimpse the breathtaking sights of the Great Lakes on an 11-day American Queen Voyages cruise for 2 aboard the Ocean Voyager or Ocean Navigator from Chicago to Toronto (or Toronto to Chicago). The runner up will win an “Ultimate Great Lakes Exploration Day” which includes a day trip for 4 beginning with a guided tour of the historic Marblehead Lighthouse (the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes), followed by lunch at Catawba Island Club (one of the finest private clubs on the Great Lakes), and concluding with a tour of the LaFarge-Marblehead Quarry (where they’ll feel the ground shake below them as they walk the quarry docks). 

All proceeds benefit the Great Lakes Historical Society and its National Museum of the Great Lakes. Tickets are $100 each with incentives to purchase multiple tickets by offering 3 for $250, 6 for $500, or 12 for $1,000. Individuals wishing to purchase multiple opportunities for a chance to win should consider taking advantage of the Early Bird Special offering 4 tickets for $250 only through July 31. For more information and to purchase tickets, individuals can visit the raffle landing page at: or call 419.214.5000.

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Museum Temporary Exhibit Will Showcase America’s Only Floating Post Office and Other Great Lakes Service Vessels

June 27, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – On Thursday, June 30, the National Museum of the Great Lakes welcomes a new temporary exhibit titled “By the Pail: J.W. Westcott and Great Lakes Service Vessels.” The exhibit takes an indepth look at the J.W. Westcott Co. and other vessels that serviced the sailors of the Great Lakes through the years including bumboats, grocery providers, and a butcher boat.

“Most people don’t know the Detroit River is home to America’s only floating post office, which was the inspiration for the exhibit’s name,” shares lead curator Carrie Sowden. “In the early days, a rope would be tossed to a waiting rowboat by a passing ship. While being towed along the ship’s side, service boats would load correspondence and supplies into a bucket lowered by the ship’s crew. Long coined “mail-by-the-pail,” the system remains little changed today.” 

Life aboard a Great Lakes vessel can be isolating and lonely. A note or package from a loved one or access to personal items and food were real morale boosters. In 1948 the J.W. Westcott Co. began delivering mail to sailors passing by on vessels as an official postal service which still operates today under the zip code 48222. “By the Pail” uses images, video and artifacts to take a deeper look at service vessels including the J.W. Westcott II and the important role they played through the years.

Exhibit admission is FREE for members and included with any museum admission purchase. The temporary exhibit will be open during regular museum hours through August 14. Individuals can purchase same-day tickets at the door or online in advance. For additional information visit or call 419-214-5000.

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New ‘Great Lakes Fest’ Features Day-long Celebration, Registration for Antique Boats and Marine Vendors Open

Thursday, June 16, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes, in  partnership with Ramsey Brothers Restorations, is planning a day-long celebration of Great Lakes History on Saturday, August 6 with the introduction of Great Lakes Fest. The new event, which the museum intends to host annually, will feature antique boats, classic cars, water and boating demonstrations, a marine mart, food trucks and kids activities.

“We wanted to celebrate Great Lakes history in a way that all ages and all interest levels could connect with,” shares the museum’s executive director Chris Gillcrist. “In addition to all of the normal activities the museum and our vessels have to offer, over the course of the day visitors can do anything from explore a selection of classic and antique boats and cars, to shop at our Marine Mart for nautical items to take home.”

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is working with Ramsey Brothers Restorations to collect a curated selection of historical vessels to showcase as well as selecting a sampling of antique Jeeps and automobiles to help connect the dots between Great Lakes history across the region and locally. Families, boatnerds, history lovers and more can come down, grab a bite to eat from a local food truck, take a scavenger hunt onboard the museum vessels, or cool down with a drink in their hand while visiting the sites on the museum grounds. 

Admission to Great Lakes Fest is free to NMGL Members and children under 5. Non-member admission is included with the price of a Museum Combo pass. For a growing list of participating boats and vendors as well as a schedule of events, or to express interest in joining the antique boat show or marine mart, visit For additional information, call 419-214-5000.

Capt. Scupper Songfest

Museum Explores Early Reading Skills in Maritime-Themed Music Class

Thursday, June 2, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) On Monday, June 20 at 10:30 a.m. the National Museum of the Great Lakes will introduce Capt. Scupper’s Songfest: Maritime Music and Movement. The new, small group activity presented by Sing into Reading was developed especially with children ages 0-6 in mind. During the class, little ones will spend 30 minutes exploring maritime themes through music and movement with a parent or caregiver followed by open play in the Museum’s “Port of Play” and exploration of the museum.

“This fun activity targets our youngest maritime enthusiasts to give them a chance to build a love of reading through music incorporating a Great Lakes twist,” explains Ellen Kennedy, who oversees the museum’s youth education initiatives. “We are excited to team up with Sing in to Reading to connect age-appropriate learning activities like this to children and their caregivers.”

The class’s instructor, Risa Beth Cohen is the Founder and Creative Director of Sing into Reading. She has been teaching Music and Movement to children since 1994 and holds an M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Bank Street College. After discovering music and movement to be what she refers to as the “secret ingredient” to encouraging literacy, Risa taught Music/Literacy in NYC public schools. Then, when she moved to Toledo, spent 10 years as the Music/Literacy Co-Curricular for 3 – 6 year-olds at West Side Montessori.

Each Capt. Scupper’s Songfest class is limited to 20 kids and their grownups and is designed for ages birth to 6. Additional classes will be offered the third Monday of each month on July 18, August 22, and September 19. Registration is $5 per class for NMGL member children and $15 per class for non-member children (non-member price includes museum-only admission for one adult and child). Capacity is limited, so advance registration is encouraged. For additional information, call 419-214-5000 or visit our event pages below.


June 20 Songfest    July 18 Songfest     August 22 Songfest     September 19 Songfest

Hard Hat Tour Offers Exclusive Access to Museum Space

Thursday, June 2, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) On Saturday, June 18 the National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) will offer the first of three summer Hard Hat Tours. Participants will set foot in spaces typically off-limits to visitors during an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship, the Museum Tug Ohio and the St. Marys Challenger Pilothouse—the newest artifact to join the museum grounds and still undergoing restoration efforts.

“During this 2-hour experience, guests will have the opportunity to take a deeper dive into the ships’ inner workings and visit “hard-hat” only locations like the Museum Ships’ Owners Galley, the lowest points of the boat, as well as a look in the vessels stern from Cargo Hold #1,” reports Christ Gillcrist, the Museum’s Executive Director. “From glimpses into our newest artifact’s restoration, to the Colonel’s original boiler bricks—you’ll see it all from an insider’s view.”

Tours are $35 for NMGL members and $50 for non-members. Each small group behind-the-scenes experience will last approximately 2 hours with tours beginning at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Space is limited to 8 individuals per small group, so advance registration is encouraged. Due to the limited capacity, additional Hard Hat Tours are also scheduled to take place this summer on Saturday, July 16 and Saturday, August 20. For additional information, call 419-214-5000 or visit our event pages below.



2022 HHH Sailor Songs - Web

Museum History Happy Hour Features Great Lakes Singer History on Land and Water

**WEATHER NOTE: Due to unexpected summer heat, History Happy Hour is now taking place within the museum interior. Guests will have after-hour museum access to roam and explore our 11,000 square feet of interior exhibits.**

May 24, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) On Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m, the National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) is partnering with North Cape Yacht Club to host their next History Happy Hour—Sailor Songs. The event will take place in front of the historic Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and features singer, songwriter, and musician Lee Murdock, whose incredible talent works to celebrate the people who live, work, and play on the Great Lakes.

“Finding unique ways to bring Great Lakes history into people’s lives is why we created History Happy Hour, ” shares Kate Fineske, the museum’s Senior Director of Institutional Advancement. “Lee Murdock’s music combines ragtime, Irish, blues and folk styles with Great Lakes storytelling and brings together original compositions with music grounded in the sea shanty tradition. To bring in someone with this caliber of talent, finding the right partner was imperative. With North Cape’s membership and past support of our mission, we knew they were the perfect choice!” 

North Cape Yacht Club is a private sailing club located on the shores of Lake Erie next to Toledo Beach in LaSalle, Michigan. They focus on the cultivation of racing and cruising sailboats. Lee Murdock is noted as a fluent instrumentalist on six and twelve string guitars. His musical influences span fifteen generations, and combine original compositions with traditional music.

Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets to enjoy the sights and sounds. Tickets are $30 for NMGL and North Cape Yatch Club members, and $35 for non-members and include light snacks, specialty drinks created by Toledo Spirits, beer, wine and soft drinks. For more information, call 419-214-5000, visit our event page here.