Pennsylvania Sea Grant and partners proudly unveil The Great Lakes Shipwreck Exhibition, a public exhibit opening November 18 at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). Hosted by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), this exhibit is free and open to the public from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM, through April 13, 2018.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck exhibition features stories from throughout the Great Lakes, with a focus on Lake Erie’s treacherous and unpredictable waters. Marine archaeologists and historical researchers have identified as many as 132 sunken ships off the shores of Pennsylvania’s 76-mile Lake Erie coastline, with estimates suggesting the number could equal that of a naval fleet. All told, as many as 25,000 sunken ships may lie at the bottom of the five Great Lakes – each with a story to tell.
The initial shipwreck exhibit was first unveiled at TREC in January 2017. This year, the exhibit will be open for six months and feature new displays including artifacts from the US Brig Lawerance, the Wolverene, Graveyard pond, and a simulated debris field of the 1840 ship, the St Louis. Specialized diving equipment, survey tools, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), ship models, and a gallery of underwater videography by the survey team’s underwater videographer, drawings by a gifted technical artist, and a diorama of Fort Presque Isle will all be on display.
Visitors can learn about the underwater process of researching, conserving and surveying these submerged cultural resources, by the volunteers of the Pennsylvania Archaeological and Shipwreck Survey Team (PASST), and see the underwater realm via underwater videos of dive operations and living history interviews. Visitors can also get a first-hand look at the “Cutter” and a nine-pound carronade from the US Brig Niagara, on-loan from the Erie Maritime Museum.
In addition to the self-guided tours, the public is invited to sign-up for guided small-group tours, interactive sessions, a lecture series, living history interviews, and an “artifact show & tell” session, which are all being scheduled through April 2018. Marine archeology classes for students and teachers will also be offered.
For more information, or to schedule a living history interview, contact David Boughton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 720-0746. For class trips and other educational opportunities, contact Beth McLaughlin at email@example.com or (814) 833-6050.
A special thanks goes out to the following for this collaborative effort: PA DEP’s Coastal Resources Management Program, Penn State University, the volunteer maritime divers and researchers of the PASST team, PA Sea Grant, the Regional Science Consortium, The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Erie Maritime Museum, the Erie County Historical Society, Divers World, S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie, the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission, Dr. Ben Ford of IUP, Erie Community Foundation, Erie Yacht Club, Erie Insurance and Mercyhurst University.
Programming is subject to modification or cancellation at the discretion of park staff. If you need an accommodation to participate in Park activities due to a disability, please contact Presque Isle State Park at 814-833-7424 to make arrangements for your visit. With at least three days’ notice, interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are available for educational programs. Please call the Erie ASL Interpreters’ Office at (814) 806-2511 for more information about this service.
Friday, April 13 to 6:00pm
Presque Isle State Park
301 Peninsula Drive, Suite 1, Erie, PA 16505-2042