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About Us

Through nautical exploration, hands-on exhibits and learning adventures for all ages, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum brings to life the stories of Lake Champlain and its people. Our mission is to preserve and share the rich history of the Lake Champlain region.

Discover why Lake Champlain is considered the most historic body of water in North America. Explore its vibrant history and get to know the characters of the Champlain Valley through its military, commercial and recreational periods. View a large collection of original small watercraft built over the last 150 years. Learn about the largest collection of wooden shipwrecks in North America and talk to archeological conservators in our Nautical Archeology Center. Step back in time as you climb aboard the full-scale working 54’ square-rigged Revolutionary War gunboat replica Philadelphia II and learn about the life of citizen soldiers in the Champlain Valley in 1776. Watch craftsmen continue traditional maritime skills of boatbuilding and blacksmithing in our working shops. Visit our museum store, children’s playground, picnic area on site. Bring a picnic lunch or grab a bite to eat at the Red Mill Restaurant next door at the Basin Harbor Club. Soft drinks and snacks are available on site.

Our rich maritime heritage is brought to life through a large collection of original, small watercraft built in the region over the past 150 years. Watch boat building in progress in our modern Boat Shop. Learn the art of traditional boat building and maritime related crafts, blacksmithing, and photography in week long and one or two day workshops.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Since 1985

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum opened its doors in 1986. We are a non-profit museum in Vergennes, Vermont with a mission to study, preserve and share the rich history and archaeology of Lake Champlain. Starting in an original historic stone schoolhouse, LCMM has grown to more than a dozen buildings, a shipyard in Burlington, Vermont, and three full-scale wooden replica vessels.

LCMM began as a one-room schoolhouse.  This building was relocated from Panton, VT and placed on site in 1985.
LCMM began as a one-room stone
schoolhouse. The building was
relocated from Panton, VT,
and placed on site in 1985. Now LCMM
is situated on a five-acre campus
with 18 exhibit buildings, a fleet of
small watercraft, three full-scale replica
vessels, a wide variety of dynamic
education programs, and a world-class
Maritime Research Institute.

LCMM provides a broad array of programs and learning experiences that bring to life the stories of Lake Champlain and its people. Since its founding, LCMM has grown into a mid-sized museum with two sites. Most history museums pass along facts as they are presented in books; LCMM is based on a more dynamic model. LCMM conducts underwater archaeology on the lake’s shipwrecks, which is related to the public through exhibits, films, publications, replica projects and lectures. LCMM uses shipwrecks, recovered artifacts, and collections to tell the stories of the region’s vibrant military and cultural history and provide connections to the past for a broad audience from Vermont, New York, Quebec, and beyond.

LCMM became nationally acclaimed with the Philadelphia Project (1989-1991) which constructed and launched a full-size, working replica of Benedict Arnold’s gunboat Philadelphia to interpret the Revolutionary War fleet on Lake Champlain. Philadelphia II continues to serve as a focal point for educational programs at LCMM.

LCMM’s Burlington Shipyard, in conjunction with Lake Champlain Transportation, interpreted 19th-century commerce on Lake Champlain through the construction of the 88-foot replica canal schooner Lois McClure. The schooner was launched in July 2004 and continues to tour our region, while keeping her home port of Burlington, VT.

LCMM is also widely known for its Nautical Archaeology Center and Conservation Laboratory at Basin Harbor where visitors of all ages learn first-hand how artifacts recovered from Lake Champlain are stabilized for study and exhibited through the conservation process.

LCMM is growing rapidly. Collections and exhibitions, originally displayed in a single building, now fill 18 major exhibit buildings on two sites. A ca. 1815 house in Burlington’s historic waterfront district, the Captain White Place, was acquired and renovated in 2002 and now serves as a year-round maritime education center.