If I had to describe myself with one word it would be artist - a visual artist and an artist with words. My artwork is included in Ohio Online Visual Arts Registry. I'm working with various galleries in the Midwest to promote my oil paintings and abstract light photography.

 

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Inland Seas Maritime Museum – Vermilion

Shipwreck and Treasure in the Great Lakes?

 © Becky Linhardt 2010

 “I did a bit better than Mom,” said Lydia Craner of Garfield Heights, Ohio.  “She crashed on the first bend of the Cuyahoga River.”  Craner was referring to an interactive station at the Inland Seas Maritime Museum that challenges the visitors to safely steer a big freighter down the twisting and turning Cuyahoga River to the open waters of Lake Erie. 

Shipwrecks are part of the fascinating maritime history that is detailed in exhibits and interactive displays in the Museum at the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio.  Another interactive station has a computer program that allows visitors to explore eight shipwreck sites hidden beneath the 95,000 sq. miles surface of the Great Lakes. 

So much of the Great Lakes history is under water that the Great Lakes Historical Society opened an annex in 2000, the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center (PLESRC).  In Lake Erie alone, it is estimated that there have been 1400 to 8000 sinkings but only about 200 shipwreck sites have been confirmed.  The Center has information available regarding historical documentation of various sinkings, sponsors lectures and workshops as well as providing a pamphlet that details Ohio’s laws for divers visiting shipwreck sites. 

 And, since weather is one of the most important factors in maritime endeavors the sound system in the museum is tuned to the National Weather Service for current information about winds, currents, lake levels and potential storms.  You can hear the broadcast in the background as you stand at the wheel of the 1905 CANOPUS with a view out to the Vermilion Harbor as pleasure craft cruise or sail across the bow of your ship.  The original 1905 pilothouse of the Great Lakes ore/car carrier was added to upper level of the museum in 1992. 

In the main exhibition area another captain’s wheel is sited in front of an expansive window with views to the harbor and also a replica of the 1877 Vermilion Lighthouse that was erected on the museum property, a reminder of the last lighthouse that welcomed sailors to the safety of the harbor.  The lighthouse was dismantled in 1929 and replaced by a skeletal tower.  Modern equipment for navigation is displayed for those taking the wheel of a more modern freighter.

 The romance of the past is captured in galleries with paintings and ships models that are remarkable crafted.  For those mechanically inclined, shipbuilding information, tracking and navigational devices abound and can entertain for hours.

 Details of life on the Great Lakes are remembered in exhibits with photographs of the cruise ships, freighters and their crews and staff.  Images of yacht club commanders and regattas of the Inter-Lakes Yachting Association (I-LYA) document racing history from more than 100 years ago to contemporary times with trophies and information about the annual I-LYA Regattas on Lake Erie at Put-in Bay, this year from July 28-August 3rd.

Great Lakes Historical Society/Inland Seas Maritime Museum: 480 Main Street, Vermilion, OH 44089. 

Open Daily during the summer season: May 1st – September 30th

Phone: (800) 893-1485 or www.inlandseas.org

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.

 

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