A woman stands on scaffolding with her back to the camera. She is painting large green letters on the back of a large wooden boat.


Would you like to know more information about retiring the Lois McClure and the Archiving Project? Please browse through the information provided here to find answers to some of the most common questions. We will update the list as needed. If your question is not here, please refer to the contact information listed below to send your question to our team.

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When and where will the Lois McClure be open?

The Lois McClure will be open at the Museum for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, from May to October. Admission to the museum is free for all. Please check our season dates and daily hours at www.lcmm.org/visit for complete information to plan your visit.

Why is 2023 the last season for the replica canal schooner Lois McClure?

In 2001, we initiated the Canal Schooner Replica Project with the goal to understand our region’s unique 1862-class sailing canal schooner; how it was built and operated; and the economic, cultural, and personal impact the canals had on our region and people. Since its launch in 2004, the replica schooner Lois McClure has toured the region bringing this history to hundreds of local communities around Lake Champlain and connecting waterways.

Like its original predecessors, the Lois McClure was not built to stay on the water forever. Our replica canal schooner, however, has remained on water for almost two decades thanks to an incredible team of staff and volunteers. Recently, increasingly extensive repair needs push us beyond the goals of the replica project. With this in mind, the Museum’s Board of Directors came together to evaluate and voted unanimously to retire the replica after the 2023 season and conclude the replica project.

What will happen next? Where is the Lois McClure going?

After October 2023, the Lois McClure will be retired and carefully disassembled for a final study by the Museum’s team as we culminate and conclude our canal boat replica project. This will also allow us to use key parts from the vessel in a new exhibit at the Museum, opening in 2024.

This final stage of the replica project also gives us the opportunity to reflect on a key part of the history of canal schooners in our region: how canal families handled the deterioration of their vessels and the impact it had on our environment, lake, and communities. Canal boat owners would have to evaluate the cost of repairs, assess valuable parts that could be re-used on a new boat, or decide if the boat should be scuttled or used for other purposes. Over the past 20 years, the Lois McClure has served as an opportunity for us to explore how repairs would be done to preserve wooden boats for longer. The retirement of the Lois McClure gives us the opportunity to explore this part of our the public history as the final chapter in our replica project.

As historians, boat builders, and archaeologists, we firmly believe that documenting this project into a living archive is important. We need to preserve our past and everything we have learned and experienced with this replica project. And through a public archiving project, we can celebrate the Lois McClure, the people who helped us build and tour this vessel, and our historical understanding of this region’s unique sailing canal schooners.

Why are you dismantling the Lois McClure after it is retired in 2023?

As mentioned above, the Museum’s board voted to retire our replica after the 2023 season. Our team has spent significant time assessing and defining what retirement means for a replica boat. Our current plan is to use parts of the boat to anchor a new exhibit that will open in 2024. We will continue researching and sharing the unique story of sailing canalboats (the boats, the industry, and most importantly the people) for many years to come.

As the home of the replica Lois McClure, it is important to us that we move to the next phase of this project with the respect the project deserves. We decided that the Schooner and its story belong in the context of our region’s unique history. We, as an institution, are committed to continuing to engage the public with that story. And the best way to do that is to use the parts and lessons of the boat as interpretive experiences for the public.

Our choice to retire and dismantle the boat also allows us to share stories of how real 19th century canalboats ended their time on the water. Canal boat owners in the 19th and early 20th centuries had to evaluate if they could repair their aging boats, re-use valuable parts in a new boat, or scuttle/abandon their vessel. Like canal boat families of history, we faced a similar decision. Our choice to focus on the ways that canalboats came off the water is also rooted in our original goals of the replica project: to understand how sailing canal schooners were built and operated, and their impact on our region’s economy and people. With all this in mind, as historians, boat builders, and the originators of this project, we agreed that the best solution to the Lois’s current needs and the project goals, is that we officially end the on-water portion of the project ourselves.

It’s hard to say goodbye and this was not a decision we came to lightly, but our group agreed that dismantling the boat is the right path for us. It guarantees the best ending for the replica project, while maintaining our ability to share the history of these unique vessels.

Why not display the Lois McClure in entirety on land?

This is one of the options our team assessed, especially considering the replica Philadelphia II is currently on display on the Museum’s green. Ultimately due to the nature of our campus and long-term requirements to display and maintain the Lois McClure on land, we are not able purse this option.

Why not sell or donate the Lois McClure to a new home?

This is one of the options our team assessed. After numerous conversations with peer organizations around the region and countless hours of research, we determined that we would not be able to identify a new home for the Lois that could support the boat’s needs and continue its mission and history.

If you have other suggestions for the future of the Lois McClure, we would welcome it! Please send ideas to us using the Suggestion Box portal or email us at info@lcmm.org.

I have an idea/suggestion for this project or for the replica canal schooner Lois McClure. How should I send it to you?

We’d love to hear your ideas. If you have ideas or suggestions, please share them with us using our online Suggestion Box portal. All suggestions will be sent privately to the Museum team and we will read every submission we get.

Who will be interviewed as part of the Oral History Project?

We will be interviewing those involved in the canal boat project, from 2001 to today, including the archaeologists, historians, boat builders, staff, and volunteers. Interviews will start being scheduled in Summer 2022. If you were a part of the Burlington Schooner Project and are interested in participating in the oral history project, please contact us at info@lcmm.org.

Will there be a new exhibit or experience at the Museum about canals and canal boats?

Yes! Our current goal is to have a new exhibit on canal boats and the canals open for the 2023 or 2024 season. We will be incorporating findings from the Schooner Lois McClure Archiving Project into this new exhibit, as well as key parts of the vessel itself.

If you have suggestions for future canal boat stories, exhibits, or programs you would like to see at the Museum, we would love to hear your ideas. Submit them using our online Suggestion Box portal. If you have images, videos, or memories you would like to become a part of this project and considered for future exhibits, please share them with us using the online Memory Box portal. New exhibit information will be posted and shared on email and social media.

How can I share a story or testimonial of my experience with the replica canal schooner Lois McClure?

Yes, PLEASE, share your memories! Public and collective memory is essential to documenting history, and we would like to make it a key part of this Archiving Project. You can submit as many memories, testimonials, stories, photos, and videos as you would like using our online Memory Box submission portal.

What kind of memory can I share?

Memories take many different forms. We’d love to hear the memories and stories that mean the most to you, such as:

  • A visit, tour, or experience onboard the replica canal schooner Lois McClure
  • A surprising piece of history, information, or lesson you learned from one of the exhibits on the Lois McClure
  • Family history or stories about the canals or canal boats
  • A favorite photo, selfie, or video of or with the Lois McClure
  • A poem about the Lois McClure, the canals, or canal boats
  • A drawing or piece of art about the Lois McClure, the canals, or canal boats
  • A scanned historic photograph or document about the canals or canal boats that means something important to you

Memories can include photos, scanned documents, videos, and/or text. You can submit your memories using the online Memory Box submission portal. Any files uploaded must be smaller than 5 MB each and text must be 700 words or less.

My question isn’t here.

We’re so sorry about that! If you have any other questions about this archiving project, please contact us at info@lcmm.org. A member of our team will respond to your question within 2 business days.