Hutchinson Fleet Micro Exhibit, century of Great Lakes shipping

National Museum of the Great Lakes Presents New Micro Exhibit: The Hutchinson Fleet — A Century of Great Lakes Shipping

 The National Museum of the Great Lakes is thrilled to announce the unveiling of its latest temporary micro exhibit, The Hutchinson Fleet: A Century of Great Lakes Shipping. Uncover the rich maritime history of the Hutchinson family, pioneers of Great Lakes shipping, and explore their remarkable journey from modest beginnings to becoming one of the largest shipping lines on the Great Lakes.


The exhibit, open from May 3 to June 30, 2024, invites visitors to discover the captivating story of the Hutchinson family’s legacy through an array of artifacts generously donated by the family themselves. From the humble acquisition of a scow schooner in 1861 to the apex of their success in the first half of the 20th century, the Hutchinsons left an indelible mark on maritime commerce, shaping the Great Lakes shipping industry for generations to come.


“We are thrilled to offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore the remarkable saga of the Hutchinson family and their enduring contributions to Great Lakes shipping,” said Carrie Sowden, Director of Archaeology and Research at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “Through this exhibit, guests will gain insight into the entrepreneurial spirit of John T. Hutchinson, the strategic expansion overseen by his son, Charles L., and the continued legacy upheld by John T. Jr. with the Buckeye Steamship Co. We are honored to showcase artifacts directly donated by the Hutchinson family, allowing visitors to connect firsthand with this remarkable piece of maritime history.”


Visitors will learn about the 101 years of the Hutchinson & Co. — from its modest beginnings to its rise as the largest independent fleet on the Great Lakes by the 1920s — discovering how the company navigated through economic challenges and adapted to evolving industry landscapes. The micro-exhibit promises an immersive journey through time, offering a deeper understanding of the Hutchinson family’s impact on the region’s maritime heritage.


The micro exhibit is included with regular museum admission, providing an opportunity for all visitors to explore and learn about this influential chapter in Great Lakes history. Don’t miss your chance to witness the legacy of the Hutchinson fleet firsthand at the National Museum of the Great Lakes.


For more information about the exhibit and museum hours, visit