The National Museum of the Great Lakes is a Must for any Maritime Enthusiast

The National Museum of the Great Lakes

Located in Toledo, Ohio, the National Museum of the Great Lakes is a must-do for anyone interested in Maritime history, shipping on the Great Lakes, or even the Edmund Fitzgerald tragedy.

This sprawling exhibit boasts a museum with over 300 artifacts, audiovisual displays, and 40 hands-on interactive exhibits.

The museum tells the history of shipping on the Great Lakes beginning in the 1600s when fur traders used the lakes to the 1800s and the Underground Railroad. It continues with the rum runners of the 1900s and ends with the thousand-foot ships using the lakes today.

On the left is an example of a birch-bark canoe that voyageurs used to transport goods. The photo on the right is a Fresnel lens that allowed the lighthouse lanterns to shine more than 20 miles away.

Perhaps the most moving exhibit in the museum is this recovered life preserver and lifeboat from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Along with the main museum you can climb aboard the 617-foot iron ore freighter Col. James M. Schoonmaker and even the smaller Tug Ohio tugboat. Both have also been turned into museums.

This view gives you a perspective of how long the ship is and what the cargo bay underneath looks like.

More views of the massive engine room, kitchen, and deck of the Schoonmaker. This tour takes you from the crew’s quarters to the bridge and is very informative.

Know Before You Go

Hours and Parking

Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm
Sunday: 12pm-5pm
Closed on Tuesdays November 1 – April 30

Col. James M. Schoonmaker and Tug Ohio are open May-October
The last time to board the boats is 4pm.

The Museum is Closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
NOTE: For customer safety, the Museum will close for Lucas County Level 2 or 3 Snow Emergencies.

The Schoonmaker and Ohio will close during periods of high wind, bad weather, or extreme heat.

The Museum site offers several parking lots for its visitors. Designated handicapped parking is available in each lot.  Parking is FREE!

Admission Fees

Museum-Only Admission

Adult – $11.00
Senior – $10.00
AAA, Military Discount – $10.00
Youth (6-17) – $8.00
Children (0-5) – FREE

Museum & Boats Admission

(Schoonmaker and Ohio are open May-October)

Adult – $17.00
Senior (65+) – $16.00
AAA, Military Discount – $16.00
Youth (6-17) –  $14.00
Children (0-5) – FREE

Before you Visit

You can pre-order your tickets here.

Download the Museum’s self-guided tour app in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. The Ship tours are both self-guided and the app is helpful when you get to each station on the tour.


While Toledo, Ohio, may not be on everyone’s destination bucket list, we highly recommend you add a stop to the Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes to yours.

We’re Mike & Jennifer Skinnell, and together we are The Rambling Quilter. We travel the country full-time in our 41ft. fifth-wheel pulled by our F-350 – affectionately named Beauty & The Beast. Mike still works part-time, and Jennifer writes our blog, travel articles, and contemporary fiction. Our blog is purely for information and entertainment purposes. However, if you’d like to support Jennifer’s writing career, her author link is below.

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