Museum seeking stories to build oral history archive

Tammy Walro

        The National Museum of the Great Lakes is seeking individuals who served on the Col. James M. Schoonmaker or the Willis B. Boyer and the tug Laurence Turner or Ohio to act as a first step in creating an oral history archive to help preserve and make known the recent history of the Great Lakes.
        “Museums generally do a good job at preserving history from decades and centuries ago, but often fail to preserve the history that has occurred much more recently,” said Christopher Gillcrist, executive director of the museum. “Our oral history archive project is designed to capture experiences related to the Great Lakes that occurred since the 1960s.”
        Gillcrist says the museum is beginning its archiving initiative by interviewing crew members from the Col. James M. Schoonmaker/Willis B. Boyer and the tug Laurence Turner/Ohio, as a starting place. “It makes lot of sense to start close to home with the two vessels in our collection.”
        Anybody with a Great Lakes story can submit initial information by contacting the museum through its online form at or by calling 419-214-5000, ext. 205. People who served on either the Schoonmaker/Boyer or the Turner/Ohio can follow the same procedure and simply check the box indicating their service on one of these two boats.
        Museum staff will record interviews and make available an online index which will be useful to researchers. Additionally, the museum hopes that these interviews may also spur the development of new exhibits and/or publications.


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