Museum exhibit showcases Great Lakes vessel photographer

Press Staff Writer

        On Friday, July 16 the National Museum of the Great Lakes opened its first in-house, temporary exhibit since the onset of the pandemic.
        The exhibit, titled “Jim Hoffman: The Photographic Life of Toledo's Original Boatnerd,” features the work of Toledoan Jim Hoffman, who passed away on Nov. 7, 2020. Considered a legend among fellow boatnerds, Hoffman’s photographs are instantly recognizable by most Great Lakes shipping photographers.
        “Jim was a fixture on the Maumee River and was loved by boatnerds near and far,” said Paul LaMarre, III, Hoffman’s longtime friend, who also serves on the board of directors at the National Museum of the Great Lakes and is the director of the Port of Monroe in Michigan. “The National Museum of the Great Lakes is proud to be able to honor and recognize his legacy and life’s passion.”
        Hoffman and his small boat were often the first thing greeting sailors on freighters entering Toledo. Through the years, his photos have been featured and shared both in print and online. In 2020, he was honored as the Great Lakes Historian of the Year by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, one of the few photographers ever chosen.
        The exhibit, installed in remembrance of Hoffman’s legacy and love for Great Lakes vessels, gives guests the opportunity to walk alongside his life’s passion and live his photographic memories.
        It is available for viewing through Labor Day, Sept. 6. Admission is free for members and is included with museum admission for non-members. Visitors will also receive a complimentary print from his photographic collection.
        The National Museum of the Great Lakes is located at 1701 Front St., Toledo. Hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.
        For admission prices and more info, visit or call 419-214-5000.


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