Museum Boats open May 1

Set Sail Into History: Museum Boats Open for the Season on May 1st

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is thrilled to announce the eagerly awaited reopening of the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and Museum Tug Ohio for the 2024 season on Wednesday, May 1st. As the community gears up for this cherished time of year, we are excited to once again share the rich history and maritime heritage that thrives aboard our iconic boats.


“Our entire team and community always looks forward to the seasonal opening of our Museum Boats,” said Ellen Kennedy, Director of Museum Operations at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “Our visitors eagerly anticipate this time of year, and we can’t wait to immerse them in the living history that our vessels embody.”


The boats, which undergo seasonal closure over the winter months, will be open for public tours between May 1st and October 31st. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the 617-foot cargo ship and historic tug, gaining insight into life on the lakes through the 20th century. In addition to time aboard the vessels, guests are encouraged to explore our Museum galleries, which showcase captivating stories through stunning photography, over 300 remarkable artifacts, immersive audiovisual displays, and interactive exhibits, offering a truly unforgettable experience. 


“During the summer season, we will have construction crews on site working on our 5,000 square foot expansion,” Kennedy added. “The Museum and vessels will be fully open during construction with hopes of no interference with the guest experience. We just kindly ask that visitors pardon our dust during this exciting time of growth.” 


In addition to the boats’ opening, beginning in May, the Museum’s open hours will also increase from 6 to 7 days a week, Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.


For those eager to embark on this journey through history, tickets can be pre-purchased at or purchased upon arrival inside the Museum at the front desk. No tickets are sold on the vessels themselves and anyone boarding the ships needs a wristband. 


We look forward to welcoming everyone back aboard the Schoonmaker and Ohio this season!