October 23, 2022

Temperature 82 Degrees, Abundant Sunshine

Museum of the Great Lakes

Visited August 17, 2022

Guess what? No automobiles in this blog! Now how about that.

When we were at Sauder we took a ride one day to Toledo, Ohio and the

We had no idea what we would discover at this museum but were we ever amazed. What a well laid out and informative museum this turned out to be. We both agreed that we learned oh so much during our time here and our trip there was definitely well worth it.

There was so much here that I could never do this museum justice in just one blog, or two, or three for that matter. So let me, instead, just give you a snapshot of this remarkable museum.

Before you even get into the museum proper there is this little tidbit of information about Toledo that I found rather amusing. Toledo was so desirable a location that Ohio and Michigan almost fought a war – the Toledo War – for control of it. President Andrew Jackson had to intervene personally, giving the city to Ohio. Michigan got the Upper Peninsula.

This is the entrance to the museum. The large white board is actually a movie screen on which you are treated to an exceptionally well done film giving an overview of the Great Lakes.

Discover America’s Third Coast and it’s many different roles in our history.

We did, indeed, discover all of this during our time at the museum.

The five lakes displayed just below the movie screen. Of the five lakes we’ve been to each and every one within the last four years.

Did you catch that? Together they are Earth’s largest group of freshwater lakes, holding 21 percent of the world’s fresh water and 84 percent of North America’s.

Regarding each of the lakes.

Anyone recognize the picture above? That is Miner’s Castle which is part of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We have many amazing memories of our cruise along this stunning shoreline.

This lake is the deadliest of the Great Lakes. We discovered when we were at Lakeside RV Park that in and around the Mackinaw Bridge there are at least 35 known shipwrecks. This area is now off limits to divers in general because in the past uncontrolled looting of the shipwrecks was taking place.

The first to be discovered. And today much of it is exactly like it was 10,000 years ago.

The last lake to be discovered. But not to be forgotten it (is) strategically important to controlling access to the rest of the Great Lakes.

Thanks to the construction of the Welland Canal and the Saint Lawrence Seaway System this lake is now the region’s gateway to the world.

The museum is divided into a number of different exhibit areas. Each area was well laid out and offered a wealth of information about different aspects of Great Lakes history. Following is a snapshot of some of those areas.

Great Lakes travel can be treacherous, and sailors battle unpredictable weather, shoals, rocks and the limits of their own technology. This area highlights both what has been done in terms of lifesaving equipment as well as the many different technologies used to safely navigate the lakes.

Moving on to yet another section.

Here in this area we learn how the boats on the lakes have evolved from crafts driven by manpower, then by wind, steam and finally diesel.

For thousands of years, native American canoes were the only vessels on the Lakes.

Because of the lightness, speed, and cargo capacity of canoes early fur traders adopted and then adapted them to what became a voyageur canoe. The problem with a canoe, though, was that it was limited by the strength and stamina of the men at the paddles. Therefore, in time sails were added to the canoe’s but this too presented a problem, they could only go down wind.

The 17th century saw the first true boats operating on the Lakes. The Le Griffon is believed to be the first true sailing ship of the upper Great Lakes. She and others like her are considered the ancestors of every boat that has worked on the Great Lakes.

But as ships grew ever larger there was a need to find a more robust form of propulsion. The logical choice would have been the use of steam. But,

Still the need for an even more reliable and robust form of propulsion was needed. This resulted in a transition finally to diesel powered boats.

Along with the change in propulsion came the change in the material used to construct boats that worked the Great Lakes.

So, the above is just a very small portion of what is here in this incredible museum. If you like the Great Lakes, or like history in general I would strongly suggest putting this on your list of must places to visit.

Thanks again for spending some time with us.  It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest. 

Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before.


  1. Bill, this is a terrific post! I wasn’t aware of this museum; it sounds really interesting and well done. I was surprised that 28,000 people have been rescued on the Great Lakes since 1982. That seems like a really large number, and why did they need to be rescued? I guess I think of olden times as times of more danger on the Great Lakes. The life jacket info was also fascinating. I have visited 3 of the 5 lakes – missing Huron and Ontario. We did visit Niagara Falls, but I didn’t realize how close we were to Lake Ontario. I am putting these last 2 lakes on my bucket list (can’t have you beating me on this!) as well as this museum. Lastly, I have a similar wood relief map of Lake Michigan. Michael and Allie gave it to me one year for Christmas. It’s proudly displayed in our living room. Thanks for a great post!


    1. Thank you. Interesting note about the life jackets, only those filled with plastic foam will remain afloat forever. All of the others will eventually become water logged and actually drag a person down and drown them. Ah, the 28,000 are those rescued world wide due to the emergency radio beacons. Hope you do make it to the museum, it is well worth the trip. Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

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