National Museum of the Great Lakes Celebrates 10 Years in Toledo with City Council Resolution

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is gearing up to celebrate a decade of enriching the Toledo community with its immersive exhibits and educational programs. The Museum has become a beacon for maritime history enthusiasts and a cornerstone of the city’s cultural landscape, and its milestone will be recognized by Toledo City Council with a Resolution on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 4 pm. 

Initially founded in 1944 by a group of passionate maritime enthusiasts in Cleveland, Ohio, the Great Lakes Historical Society has remained steadfast in its mission to preserve and showcase the rich history of the Great Lakes region. This commitment continued when the National Museum of the Great Lakes moved to Toledo in 2014, situated gracefully along the banks of the Maumee River.

Over the past ten years, the museum has captivated visitors with its diverse array of exhibits, featuring visual, audiovisual, and hands-on experiences spanning centuries of Great Lakes history. From the era of fur trading to the challenges of the underground railroad and the exploits of rum runners, the museum offers a comprehensive journey through the pivotal moments that have shaped the Great Lakes into the vital resource it is today.

One of the highlights of the museum’s collection is the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship, affectionately known as the “Queen of the Lakes.” This iconic vessel, measuring over 617 feet in length and 64 feet in width, served as a coal hauler for over seven decades, traversing the Great Lakes and leaving an indelible mark on maritime history. Additionally, the Museum Tug Ohio, generously donated by the Great Lakes Towing Company, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Great Lakes shipping.

As the National Museum of the Great Lakes prepares to mark this significant milestone, Executive Director, Kate Fineske, reflects on the museum’s integral role within the community. “For the past decade, the National Museum of the Great Lakes has been more than just a repository of history – it’s been a gathering place, a source of pride, and a catalyst for discussions around our natural resources. Our goal is to make Toledo the epicenter of Great Lakes conversations, where stories are shared, connections are forged, and the spirit of the region thrives.”

Echoing Fineske’s sentiments, Sam Melden, Toledo City Councilman, underscored the significance of having the National Museum of the Great Lakes within Toledo’s borders. “The presence of the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo has been instrumental in fostering a deeper appreciation for our region’s maritime heritage. Not only does it serve as a vital educational resource, but it also enhances Toledo’s identity as the premier destination for all things Great Lakes.”

As the Museum prepares to celebrate its milestone anniversary on April 10th, the City of Toledo and its residents join in commemorating a decade of excellence, inspiration, and celebration of the rich tapestry of Great Lakes history.