Wednesday, July 2, 2014

National Museum of the Great Lakes

We are now parked in Toledo,Ohio, visiting my brother Marcus and his wife Heidi.  Over the many years we have visited them here I do not recall ever visiting the downtown area of Toledo.  The city lies along the Maumee River which flows into one of our nation's five Great Lakes- Lake Erie.  Yesterday we visited the National Museum of the Great Lakes which sits on the waterfront of Toledo.
The museum is pictured above, and in the background can be seen the Toledo Skyway Bridge, built in 2007.   From the waterfront near the museum I was better able to get a better snapshot of this awesome bridge.  Unfortunately we had no cause to be on I-280 so we did not drive over it.
The National Museum of the Great Lakes was just opened this year.  Out of the choice of  six larger cities which ring the Great Lakes, Toledo was chosen for the museum and an old ferry building on its waterfront was reconstructed to house the museum.  Everything you would wish to know regarding the five Great Lakes can be found here.  The various galleries have pictures, artifacts and interactive displays regarding the lake's exploration, settlement, industrialization, shipwrecks, safety and support, as well  as maritime technology.  There is probably a lot I could write here regarding what I learned in the museum, but I will spare our readers in that regard.  Briefly, I will only note here that the five lakes are considered the "third coast" of our nation, they are the world's largest source of fresh water, and the largest inland waterway.
I took the above picture on the Col.James M. Schoonmaker ( later renamed Willis B.Boyer), a 1911 freighter which is now a museum ship.  In the distance can be seen some of the skyline of Toledo.  The freighter was once the "Queen of the Lakes" as well as the largest bulk freighter in the world.  Today lakers are 1,000 feet in length and can haul up to 73,000 tons of cargo.  On the freighter we toured everything from the engine room to the captain's office and cabin, Texas room and pilot House.  The size of the ship impressed me when I looked into one of the cargo holds.

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