National Museum of Great Lakes celebrating 10th anniversary

Press Staff Writer

        The National Museum of the Great Lakes is gearing up to celebrate a decade of enriching the Toledo community with its immersive exhibits and educational programs.
        On April 10, Toledo City Council recognized the museum’s milestone of becoming a beacon for maritime history enthusiasts and a cornerstone of the city’s cultural landscape.
        Initially founded in 1944 by a group of passionate maritime enthusiasts in Cleveland, the Great Lakes Historical Society has remained steadfast in its mission to preserve and showcase the rich history of the Great Lakes region. This commitment continued when the National Museum of the Great Lakes moved to Toledo in 2014, situated along the banks of the Maumee River.
        Over the past 10 years, the museum has engaged visitors with its diverse array of exhibits, featuring visual, audiovisual, and hands-on experiences spanning centuries of Great Lakes history. From the era of fur trading to the challenges of the underground railroad and the exploits of rum runners, the museum offers a comprehensive journey through the pivotal moments that have shaped the Great Lakes into the vital resource it is today.
        One of the highlights of the museum’s collection is the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship, affectionately known as the “Queen of the Lakes.” This iconic vessel, measuring over 617 feet in length and 64 feet in width, served as a coal hauler for over seven decades, traversing the Great Lakes and leaving an indelible mark on maritime history.
        Additionally, the Tug Ohio, donated by the Great Lakes Towing Company, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Great Lakes shipping.
        NMGL Executive Director Kate Fineske reflected on the museum’s role within the community. “For the past decade, the National Museum of the Great Lakes has been more than just a repository of history – it’s been a gathering place, a source of pride, and a catalyst for discussions around our natural resources. Our goal is to make Toledo the epicenter of Great Lakes conversations, where stories are shared, connections are forged, and the spirit of the region thrives,” she said.
        Echoing Fineske’s sentiments, Sam Melden, Toledo City Councilman, underscored the significance of having NMGL within Toledo’s borders. “The presence of the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo has been instrumental in fostering a deeper appreciation for our region’s maritime heritage. Not only does it serve as a vital educational resource, but it also enhances Toledo’s identity as the premier destination for all things Great Lakes."
        The NMGL is located at 1701 Front St., Toledo. For more information, call 419-214-5000 or visit


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