March 17, 2020 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes is pleased to announce the opening of an online, interactive exhibit meant to capture the vibrancy and importance of the Maumee River and the Port of Toledo over time. The Port of Toledo: Then & Now online exhibit can be accessed for free by visiting nmgl.org/portoftoledo.
“We began planning the exhibit about six months ago after years of discussion around opportunities which would allow us to engage more people in our museum’s mission of preserving and making known the history of the Great Lakes,” said Carrie Sowden, who led the exhibit’s curation and is the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ Archaeological Director. “Little did we know our timing would coincide with a health pandemic, making the virtual experience even more relevant by offering increased access to a public now predominantly homebound.”
The exhibit’s landing page showcases a Port of Toledo map with icons indicating the location of various photos taken throughout history around the Maumee River. The exhibit will be updated every few weeks with new images and stories. Visitors can click to learn more about each individual image and leave comments or share their own memories.
“For parents looking for interesting learning opportunities for their children at home, this offers a great way to integrate history with the beauty and the changes of a port that’s influenced lives and shaped a community,” states Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Education and Visitor Experience Director. “The Maumee River has played an important role for Toledoans and those living in Northwest Ohio to live by, work on and play in.”
The initial exhibit focuses on the Port of Toledo “Then”. Still to come, the museum will explore the Port of Toledo as we know it now by showcasing collected and crowd-sourced images mirroring the historic story of the “Mighty Maumee”. Finally, in September, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will open a temporary exhibit in the History Walk Gallery of Promedica’s historic Steam Plant Headquarters, bringing together the beauty of the online exhibit with images and the incredibly real experience of artifacts.