New exhibit taps into museum’s vast nautical flag collection

        The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) recently introduced a new online and micro exhibit — “Waving Through Time: Flags of the Sweetwater Seas.”
        Part one of the two-part exhibit highlighting commercial and recreational flags on the Great Lakes launched Feb. 16 with a focus on the Great Lakes Industry.
        The online exhibit features six different series of flags that have helped commercial vessels thrive on the Great Lakes and throughout North America.
        New content is being released every two weeks through part one of the series. Future release dates include March 15, March 29, April 12 and April 26.
        “We are excited to tap into the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ vast collection to highlight the navigational symbols and house flags whose passage through our Sweetwater Seas helped build the world we live in today,” said Carrie Sowden, the museum’s Archaeological and Research Director who also oversees the organization’s installation of temporary and micro-exhibits.
        “From company logos and signal flags to yachting association celebratory flags – we’re exploring their history and significance all year long,” said Ring Lardner, NMGL’s Collections Coordinator, who is the exhibit’s primary curator and researcher. “This spring, every couple of weeks through April, we will introduce a new series of flags online which have helped Great Lakes commercial vessels thrive.
        “Additionally, in mid-March, individuals can visit the museum to see some of the historical flags featured in the online exhibit through installation of an accompanying micro-exhibit meant to expand their stories and highlight related artifacts that further showcase their significance,” Lardner said.
        “Waving Through Time: Flags of the Sweetwater Seas” will be available online for individuals to interact with all year.  
        Part 2: Recreational Boating, will launch this fall and also feature an online and micro-exhibit – turning the exhibit’s focus on flags that have helped recreational sailors showcase their identity and communicate.
        To access the exhibit, visit The museum also encourages individuals to follow @NMGLToledo on social media and sign up for emails to be notified throughout the year when each of the 12 new series and accompanying micro-exhibits launches.
        The National Museum of the Great Lakes is located at 701 Front St., Toledo. Call 419-214-5000 or visit for more information.


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