The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


The Great Lakes Historical Society and the City of Toledo on Monday broke ground for the new National Museum of the Great Lakes at a ceremony on Toledo’s eastern riverfront.

Toledo’s newest museum is currently slated to open during the summer of 2013.

The ceremony marked the culmination of three years of exploring and planning a unique experience for visitors on the banks of the Maumee River.  The Great Lakes Historical Society, the City of Toledo, and the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority have worked together to create an integrated experience with the National Museum of the Great Lakes, the Col. James M. Schoonmaker museum ship, and a maritime park. 

Breaking ground for the National Museum of the Great Lakes is Paul Toth, President, Lucas County Port Authority; Chris Gilchrist, Director, Great Lakes Historical Society; Jim Karpinski, Great Lakes Historical Society; Otto Budig, Jr., Chairman, Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission; Michael P. Bell, Mayor of Toledo; Mark Wagoner, Ohio Senate District 2; James Tuschman, Trustee, Toledo Lucas County Port Authority; Jerry Trabler, Trustee, Toledo Lucas County Port Authority; Julian Gravino, Great Lakes Historical Society; Don Wray, GLHS; Tony Szambecki-Emeritus Board Member, GLHS; A. Bailey Stanbery-Board member GLHS; and Dick Gabel-Toledo Lucas County Port Authority. (Photo courtesy of Jen Sorgenfrei/public information officer for Mayor Bell.)

Speakers at the groundbreaker reiterated a common theme — “that together, these three entities will create the national hub of Great Lakes History in downtown Toledo.” 

“It’s a great day for Toledo.  Coming off of Navy Week, where we saw hundreds of Toledo residents line the riverbanks to greet the ships on their arrival, there is a definite desire and interest for this particular type of attraction in Toledo,” Toledo Mayor Michael Bell said. “We’re glad to have the museum as a part of our developing Marina District.”

The 14,000 square foot Toledo Maritime Center will be retrofitted to house nearly 10,000 square feet of state of the art exhibits on all aspects of Great Lakes history. 

The Col. James M. Schoonmaker, after undergoing a complete external rehabilitation in 2011, will move down the river in October 2012 to its new home next to the National Museum of the Great Lakes, just a short trip downriver from its current home in International Park. 

When complete, the complex will also include a new Maritime Park with several acres of beautiful landscaping as well as maritime artifacts and history.

The $10 million project has been funded extensively through the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission with a grant worth over $6 million.  Further funding has come from private and public sources, including a lease from the Port Authority for the building for $1 per year, and a capital campaign driven by the Great Lakes Historical Society.




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