The second Wave, becoming the place where all Great Lakes conversations happen

National Museum of the Great Lakes Announces Second Wave Expansion Groundbreaking Ceremony

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is thrilled to celebrate our past, present, and future as we break ground on our Second Wave Expansion Monday, April 22nd at 2:00 PM. 

The Second Wave Expansion represents a pivotal step forward for the museum, made possible by the unwavering support of our community including the State of Ohio, forward-thinking businesses, generous donors, loyal museum members, and visitors. With the addition of a new 5,000-square-foot space, anchored by the revered pilothouse of the St. Mary’s Challenger, we are poised to enhance our offerings and provide an enriched experience for visitors. It’s important to note that the Museum will remain open during construction.

“I am thrilled to embark on this next chapter with the groundbreaking of our Second Wave Expansion,” said Kate Fineske, Executive Director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes.  “From the moment we opened our doors, we knew our mission to showcase the rich maritime history of the Great Lakes would resonate deeply. Yet, our rapid growth quickly outpaced our physical space.”

During the ceremony, attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the exciting plans for the expansion, including dedicated areas for temporary and traveling exhibits, innovative permanent exhibit spaces, and a new Great Lakes community education center. 

“At the heart of this expansion lies our Great Lakes community education center — a space designed to be the hub where all Great Lakes conversations happen. This center will not only enrich the visitor experience but also solidify our new vision to become the gathering place of all Great Lakes conversations. I am beyond excited to see how this new space will empower us to continue our mission for generations to come,” added Fineske. 

As we commemorate a decade of presence in the Toledo community, we invite everyone to reflect on our journey thus far and to envision the boundless opportunities that lie ahead.

Speakers at the ceremony will include Fineske along with Mark Barker, NMGL Board President and President of Interlake Maritime Services, and Dr. Bill Davis, who serves as NMGL’s local public campaign board lead and is presently Chair of the Department of Dentistry and Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Education at the University of Toledo.

Following the ceremony, guests are invited to enjoy coffee and conversation inside the museum, and the media is invited to hold interviews with our team while getting a preview of the expansion area. The event will take place in front of the iconic John Sherwin propeller, and in the event of rain, the ceremony will be relocated to our community room.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes extends its deepest gratitude to the community for their continued support, which is instrumental to our growth and positive impact.

For more details about the expansion, visit