Museum and Sandpiper Tour Boat Partnership Wins Top State Award

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) has been awarded the Ohio Museum Association Award for Best Community Partnership in the Over $500,000 budget category for their Port of Toledo: Then & Now — Interactive Sandpiper Tour Boat Exhibit. The award was announced and presented to museum representatives during an evening ceremony at the Cincinnati Art Museum on Sunday, April 3. 

“In August of 2021, the National Museum of the Great Lakes installed our first traveling exhibit aboard a vessel—The Sandpiper tour boat operating on the Maumee River in Toledo,” explains Kate Fineske, who oversees the museum’s community partnerships. “We are always looking for innovative ways to introduce people to Great Lakes History through mission-focused collaborations that also provide value-added benefits for other businesses.”

NMGL staff worked with tour operators to coordinate an exhibit to tell the story of the Port of Toledo’s history in a way Sandpiper guests could independently interact with—in this case, utilizing QR codes and a large-scale map. The partnership also designated two days in 2021 to specifically target a dual experience by introducing “Ship & Shore: The Ultimate Great Lakes History Day”. During these dedicated “Ship & Shore” days, guests could explore Great Lakes history at the National Museum of the Great Lakes and experience the history of the Port of Toledo from the water aboard the Sandpiper.

“As we look toward the 2022 season, we are excited to continue this partnership as well as find other ways to collaborate and support each other,” shares Paul Lis, owner of J&M Cruise Lines. “The one-of-a-kind exhibit will continue to be available for guests onboard The Sandpiper this summer along with the addition of more Ship & Shore days.” 

The museum has already added three dates for the 2022 Ship & Shore days in June, July and August. The Sandpiper offers a number of relaxing and fun cruises on the Maumee River in downtown Toledo and individuals can explore NMGL’s interactive exhibit onboard once it begins public seasonal operations this May. For more information and to book a tour on The Sandpiper visit J&M Cruises online here. For more information and to book a Ship & Shore excursion, visit our NMGL’s events page online or call 419-214-5000. 

The Ohio Museums Association Annual Awards Program proudly honors outstanding achievement and visual communication. Nominations and entries from the field are considered by a distinguished panel of judges, selected to represent the diversity of the museum community. The Best Community Collaboration/Partnership Award recognizes innovative partnerships within communities or among other museums.