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. From a single exhibit in a one-room 1818 Stone Schoolhouse, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's shipwreck discoveries, antique boats, and hands-on workshop facilities now fill a dozen buildings on a four-acre campus beside the lake. The Museum campus is open late May through mid-October. Educational programs for schools, community groups, and learners of all ages are offered all year.
Visitors can board full-sized replica 1776 gunboat Philadelphia II, discover a shipwreck through the lens of an underwater robot, or get out on the water with a "Museum/Lunch/Cruise" package offered daily in partnership with the Basin Harbor Club. LCMM’s replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure, launched in 2004, travels to ports throughout the region. LCMM offers classes in boat building, blacksmithing, team rowing, and other skills. LCMM is a leader in shipwreck management, raising public awareness, and developing public policy around shipwrecks through dozens of projects undertaken, completed, and published over the years.
LCMM provides a broad array of programs and learning experiences that bring to life the stories of Lake Champlain and its people. Many 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, and presents discoveries 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) in which Museum staff and community volunteers 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.
From 2001-2004, 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 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure. The schooner was launched in July 2004 and continues to tour the waterways of 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 exhibition through the conservation process.