Two Tug Christenings—One Huge Weekend at the National Museum of the Great Lakes

Two Tug Christenings—One Huge Weekend at the National Museum of the Great Lakes

(Toledo) On Friday, June 21, 2019, two tugs will be formally christened at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo Ohio. The first tug to be christened was donated to the museum by The Great Lakes Towing Company in 2018, and will be known as the Museum Tug Ohio. The National Museum of the Great Lakes has spent the last nine months restoring the tug. It will be a feature exhibit at the museum and the Maumee River’s second floating museum ship. The second tug to be christened is The Great Lakes Towing Company’s newest tug, also named Ohio. This tug will serve the maritime community as a member of The Great Lakes Towing Company’s fleet of tugs that operate across the Great Lakes and on the Maumee River. Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes stated “We believe this event is the first of its kind on the Great Lakes and perhaps beyond—the christening of a museum tug that shares its name with the tug built to take its place in the commercial towing fleet! The past meets the present and future all in one wonderful event!”

The addition of the Museum Tug Ohio represents only the second commercial museum ship on the Maumee River—the first being the Col. James M. Schoonmaker. Thirty years ago, the Schoonmaker (as the Willis B. Boyer) was introduced to Toledo as its first museum ship. “It’s been too long since a new museum ship came to Toledo” said Gillcrist. The addition of a museum tug fills a significant void in the permanent exhibit plan of NMGL.

The Great Lakes Towing Company’s new commercial tug represents the application of cutting edge technology in tug design. The new Damen 1907 Ice Tug was built at The Great Lakes Towing Company’s shipyard in Cleveland. In 2019, The Great Lakes Towing Company Ohio will celebrate 120 years of serving as an invaluable resource to the Great Lakes maritime community. President of The Great Lakes Towing Company, Joe Starck says, “The new tug is aptly named OHIO: She was built in Ohio, by an Ohio shipyard, for an Ohio-based company, will operate on Ohio waters and serve Ohio ports. In addition, her construction cost was supported by the Ohio EPA and she replacing the historical Tug Ohio. We memorialize the Museum Tug OHIO as we celebrate her modern successor that will continue to keep cargo moving, here in Toledo, for generations.”

The christenings will take place at the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ commercial dock located behind the building on the Maumee River. Guests and attendees will observe from the dock and patio behind the museum. Christenings of commercial vessels on the Great Lakes have a long and illustrious history. These events often drew thousands of spectators and VIP’s from the maritime industry from across the country.

The Sponsor of the Museum Tug Ohio is long-time NMGL employee and volunteer Mrs. Jane Smith. Mrs. Smith will break a bottle of beer over the bow rail of the Museum Tug Ohio instead of the traditional bottle of champagne. According to Gillcrist when the boat was christened the first time in Chicago in 1903, beer was used because the boat was going to serve the city of Milwaukee—the city that made beer famous! Gillcrist noted that Mrs. Smith was chosen as the sponsor because she best represents the volunteer spirit that makes projects like this one possible.

Included with the press kit is a Museum Tug Ohio Fact Sheet with details of the vessels 115-year history on the Great Lakes. During its career as a fire boat in Milwaukee it participated in some of the most important disasters in Milwaukee history. As a tug, it logged more miles of commercial activity than any other tug on the Great Lakes. “This tug tells a story that no other tug can tell” said Gillcrist. “How many tugs towed not one but two navy submarines on the Great Lakes!”

Tug Ohio Weekend Activities Schedule

Friday’s Activities

When: Friday, June 21, 2019—11:00 AM Where: National Museum of the Great Lakes, 1701 Front Street, Toledo Ohio. What: Christening Ceremony, tours of the Museum Tug Ohio and dockside viewing of new Tug Ohio (the public cannot tour the new tug, but a digital exhibit of its capabilities will be available).

Specifics:

  • $25 per person includes admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes, and the Schoonmaker as well as tickets to the christening activities. (members of NMGL pay $20 per person)
  • Tickets are available at www.ryanl51.sg-host.com for on-line purchase or by calling NMGL at 419-214-5000 x 0.
  • Tickets to the event are limited and must be purchased prior to the event. No walk-up ticket sales available.
  • The National Museum of the Great Lakes will be closed to all other visitors on Friday, June 21.

Saturday and Sunday’s Activities

When: Saturday June 22, 2019 (10 AM-5 PM) and Sunday, June 23, 2019 (12 PM-5 PM) Where: National Museum of the Great Lakes, 1701 Front Street Toledo, Ohio What: On board tours of the Museum Tug Ohio and dockside viewing of the new Tug Ohio (the public cannot tour the new tug, but a digital exhibit of its capabilities will be available).

Specifics:

  • $17 per person includes admission to NMGL, and the Schoonmaker as well as admission to the Museum Tug Ohio.
  • Members of NMGL are free.
  • Tickets are available at the admission desk at the National Museum of the Great Lakes on Saturday and Sunday.

Press Contact Information: Press can contact Christopher Gillcrist of the National Museum of the Great Lakes at 216-956-9734 or through email at glhs1@inlandseas.org Gillcrist will provide contact information with a representative from The Great Lakes Towing Company upon request.