2001 – 2004: Construction
In 2001, the Museum kicked off the “Burlington Schooner Project” with the objective to build a full-sized working replica of an 1862-class sailing canal schooner. The replica was modeled after two historic shipwrecks of this important era of sailing canal schooners, General Butler, and the O.J. Walker, both located within one mile of Burlington Harbor.
The shipwreck General Butler was discovered in 1980, by divers Scott MacDonald and Dean Russell. It became the catalyst for new research and new appreciation of the early nineteenth century commercial era and a unique Lake Champlain vessel design, the “Lake Champlain sailing canal boat.” This vessel type we now know was invented here in 1823, simultaneous with the opening of the new Champlain Canal. The Butler’s 88-foot long hull had the distinctive shape of a standard towed canal boat but also contained features that implied that the boat had been sailed. Initial research and inquiries suggested that, although sailing barges were a European design, there never had been sailing canal boats in North America, nor had any ever crossed the Atlantic. Yet, the presence of the General Butler said otherwise. The Museum’s team kicked off a decade of research to confirm that sailing canal boats had indeed been constructed on Lake Champlain and the story of Lake Champlain’s sailing canal boats began to unfold. Just two years after General Butler, the wreck of another 1862-class canal schooner,the O.J. Walker, was discovered nearby.
While never as common as standard towed canal boats, sailing canal boats developed their own niche of operations that gave them increasing viability and preference to shuttle freight and goods from Lake Champlain, through the canals, to connecting waters and cities. Ultimately, changing times and new transportation methods doomed the sailing canal schooner to extinction. They now exist as a handful of archaeological sites on the lake bottom and in the historical memory resurrected by this project.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s replica vessel initiative, named the Burlington Schooner Project, got underway in 2001. Four shipwrights were hired to construct the new schooner and over 200 volunteers were recruited to help in the building process from 2001-2004:
- 2001 (July – Oct) Project starts at Burlington Shipyard in space donated by the Lake Champlain Transportation Co. Interpretive displays, included a full-scale diorama for members of the public to operate the ship’s “shin cracker” steering system. Nearby, volunteers and museum staff were shaping spars and building the ship’s boat model “Mac,” named in honor of philanthropist and lead donor J. Warren McClure.
- 2002 (May – Oct) Keel laid, framing construction
- 2003 (May – Oct) Planking, decking, and interior configuration
- 2004 (May – June) Finish construction, including hands-on opportunity to try seam caulking, and painting; and schooner launch
- Over 58,000 visitors observed the construction of the schooner over three years.
2004: Inaugural Lake Tour
July 3rd launch festivities occurred in conjunction with the City of Burlington’s Independence Day celebrations, with 10,000 people in attendance. After fitting the masts and interior living quarter details, the canal schooner Lois McClure embarked on a two-month journey beginning at St. Albans Bay, homeport of the Gleaner, the first sailing canal boat known, and the first vessel to complete the transit of the new Champlain Canal in 1823. At St. Albans Bay, like at all ports of call, we invited visitors to come on board free of charge and experience the boat’s scale, cargo examples, and living accommodations. Our crew of mariners/interpreters was bolstered by a crew of enthusiastic volunteer interpreter/boat handlers.
After St. Albans, the Lois McClure visited other key ports around Lake Champlain. As she sailed through the region, she served as a powerful reminder of days gone by, when almost all Champlain Valley passengers and freight moved by water. The canal schooner served as a link to our region’s shared history when the Hudson River, Lake Champlain and Canadian waterways were connected via the 19th century canal system. The schooner also served as a tangible connection to the region’s collection of underwater cultural resources, whose re-discovery and evolving historical context provided the inspiration for this project and promises to help us better understand past societies and, through them, our own.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum was able to make a remarkable connection between the new working replica vessel and the historical record with the publication of Life on a Canal Boat: The Journals of Theodore D. Bartley, 1861-1889. This extraordinary daily record – some 1,500 manuscript pages painstakingly transcribed by Barbara Bartley, great-granddaughter-in-law of the writer, was edited by regional historian Russell P. Bellico.
We welcomed aboard 15,000 visitors during the tour and visited 13 ports of call:
- Burlington, VT July 3 – August 16
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum August 21 – 25
- Westport, NY August 26 – 27
- Vergennes, VT August 28 – 29
- St. Albans, VT September 1 – 5
- Grand Isle, VT September 6
- Plattsburgh, NY September 9 – 13
- Essex, NY September 16 – 19
- Whitehall, NY September 22 – 23
- Port Henry, NY September 25 – 28
- Shoreham, VT September 30 – October 4
- Westport, NY October 7 – 10
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum October 12 – 17
2005: The Grand Journey
Our 2005 tour to New York City brought the story of our shared canal era history to communities along Lake Champlain, the Champlain Canal (originally known as the Northern Canal), and the Hudson River, recreating voyages from 100 to almost 200 years before. After the completion of the Champlain Canal in 1823, Lake Champlain canal boats could travel through the new canal directly to the Hudson River and New York City. The sailing canal schooner Lois McClure travelled these traditional routes and shared the regional history with communities along the way. Our schooner proved to be an effective window into the era when wooden canal boats were as common on our waterways as tractor trailers are on our roads today. The schooner also raised awareness of submerged cultural resources – the wooden shipwrecks on the bottom of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.
“It has been an extraordinary experience for our crew of educator/mariners,” said then Executive Director Art Cohn, “and, we believe, a great experience for our visitors, as well.” An affirmation of this belief came in a letter from a visitor:
“What an amazing educational experience! I only dimly knew about the role that our nation’s canal system had played in the development of commerce in our country, and certainly had no appreciation of the Champlain Canal and its vital role in shipping products from Vermont and Canada to NYC through Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. And I most certainly did not know that there was a type of canal boat that was equipped to sail the open waters of the lake and then stow her masts to convert to a traditional canal boat to traverse the Champlain Canal. My visit to the Lois McClure has sparked an investigation of all these incredibly interesting stories that continues to this day.”
The schooner visited 25 ports of call, traveled more than 1,000 miles, and welcomed more than 25,000 visitors on board:
- Burlington, VT May 1 – June 15
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum June 17 – 21
- Essex, NY June 23 – 26
- LCMM Basin Harbor June 28 – 29
- Whitehall, NY July 2 – 4
- Fort Edward, NY July 7 – 10
- Kingston, NY July 15 – 19
- Poughkeepsie, NY July 20 – 24
- Newburgh, NY July 28 – 31
- Peekskill, NY August 4 – 7
- West Point, NY August 11 – 12
- Constitution Island August 13
- North Cove, Battery Park City, NYC August 16 – 18
- Kings Point, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy August 20 – 22
- Troy, NY September 1 – 3
- Albany, NY September 4 – 8
- Waterford, NY September 9 – 11
- Jersey City, NJ September 17 – 20
- Port Washington, NY September 21 – 26
- Mechanicville, NY October 3 – 4
- Schuylerville, NY October 6 – 8
- Fort Edward, NY October 10 – 11
- Fort Ann, NY October 13 – 14
- Whitehall, NY October 16 – 17
2006: North Lake Educational Tour
In 2006, the Lois McClure took on more of the educational role of a museum and was a key part of the launch of the Museum’s new canal curriculum, Canalers Afloat. This comprehensive curriculum for Grades Pre-K to 8 was New York and Vermont standards-based, and provided a menu of options that teachers could use to engage students in history, archaeology, music, art, geology, and math. Utilizing the new curriculum, teachers were able to visit the schooner at Burlington’s Perkins Pier for spring school field trips. In the fall, we then visited the northern lake and served up programming for schools in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties in Vermont and Clinton County in New York. These learning opportunities made deep historical connections for students and visitors within their local communities, and resulted in positive, lasting impressions.
Back in the spring, the schooner was brought to Shelburne Shipyard and hauledout of the water using the Lake Champlain Transportation Co. marine railway for the first time. After two years of traveling around Lake Champlain, the Champlain Canal, the Hudson River, and the East River, this allowed the shipwrights to inspect the hull and attend to some minor wear and tear that needed a bit of attention.
We welcomed 10,000 visitors in 7 ports:
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum June 8 – 25
- Burlington, VT July 1 – September 10
- St Albans, VT September 18 -27
- Grand Isle VT October 2 – 5
- Plattsburgh, NY October 10 – 18
- Burlington, VT October 21 – 26
2007: Grand Canal Journey
Building on previous partnerships, the Museum connected with longtime friends, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the New York State Canal Corporation, to create a dynamic program to bring the history and archaeology of the canal era to communities along the New York State canal system.
The Heritage Corridor Commission and National Park Service staff work with state and federal agencies, organizations, and the 234 communities along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to preserve, interpret, and promote historic, natural, and recreational resources within the corridor for the benefit of residents and visitors. The institutional missions of the three partners were combined to bring the Lois McClure‘s active presentation of the canal systems past, present and future to a region whose communities share a direct connection to the story of the canal era.
At Whitehall, NY, the schooner’s masts were removed and stored on the deck to allow her to transit the Champlain and Erie Canals, under tow by tugboat C. L. Churchill. Outside Medina, NY, canal history came vividly to life as Lois McClure was towed by the mule team Yank and Reb, led by Ron and Nancy McCarty, in Medina, NY.
During the 2007 tour, the Lois McClure traveled more than 1,000 miles, over 100 days, visited more than 25 communities, and welcomed 30,000 visitors onboard.
- Ithaca, NY July 2 – 3
- Seneca Falls, NY July 7 – 8
- Geneva, NY July 10 – 11
- Lyons, NY July 14
- Pittsford, NY July 17 – 18
- Medina, NY July 21 – 22
- Lockport, NY July 24 – 25
- Buffalo, NY July 28 – 29
- Tonawanda, NY July 31 – August 1
- Brockport, NY August 4 – 5
- Rochester, NY august 7 – 8
- Fairport August 9
- Palmyra, NY August 11 – 12
- Syracuse, NY August 17 – 18
- Oswego, NY August 21 – 22
- Rome, NY August 26 – 27
- Utica, NY August 29
- Herkimer, NY August 30
- Little Falls, NY August 31 – September 1
- Canajoharie, NY September 2
- Amsterdam, NY September 4
- Waterford, NY September 7 – 9
- Albany, NY Sept 11 – 12
- Schuylerville, NY September 15 – 16
- Fort Edward, NY September 18 – 19
- Whitehall, NY Sept 21 – 22
2008: Our Shared Heritage Tour, Quebec City.
The Lois McClure traveled to Quebec as an ambassador from Vermont and New York to the 400th Anniversary commemoration of the founding of Quebec City, celebrating “Notre Patrimoine Le Long des Voies Navigables – Our Shared Heritage Along the Waterways.”
Throughout the Colonial and American Revolutionary Wars there was an intimate relationship between Quebec, Canada, and the Champlain Valley. This relationship continued and transformed into a commercial connection as canals linked our waterways and communities throughout the 19th century. Goods and products from our region were carried to Quebec on canal boats via the Chambly Canal. They then returned with the products of Canada.
Samuel de Champlain is perhaps the most obvious example of our shared connections. On July 3rd, 1608, Champlain stepped ashore at what was to become Quebec City.. One year later, in July 1609, Champlain arrived on the lake that would come to bear his name, Lake Champlain.
Quebec City viewed the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s arrival as an opportunity for a grand celebration and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s schooner Lois McClure was graciously invited to participate. On July 2nd, 2008, almost 400 years to the day, a delegation from Lake Champlain converged aboard the deck of the Lois McClure, which was docked in Quebec City’s inner harbor, to exchange messages of goodwill, friendship, and shared heritage.
It was a proud moment for our region. Senator Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and his wife Dorothy, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss, Vergennes Mayor Mike Daniels, New York Quadricentennial Vice Chairperson Celine Paquette, and US Counsel David Fetter spoke of the many ties that bind our regions together. Quebec City’s 400th committee President Jean Leclerc and the Mayor of Quebec Regis Labeaune were joined by the Prime Minister of Quebec, Jean Charest, who reciprocated with expressions of welcome, cultural and economic connections, and goodwill. But Marcelle Leahy and Jean Charest stole the show. Like so many Vermont families, Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy’s family had migrated across the border from Quebec City and the surrounding countryside. Marcelle’s remarks, delivered in French, truly embodied the message about our cultural connections. Prime Minister Charest knew Marcelle’s family and was wonderfully warm and entertaining in his remarks. While the Lois McClure was recognized by many speakers as the official flagship of our upcoming 2009 Quadricentennial celebration, Prime Minister Charest also recognized the Lois McClure as the flagship of Vermont’s navy (unofficially, of course).
During our stay in Quebec City, we welcomed 13,000 visitors in just one week, and over the whole summer we welcomed 30,000 visitors, 8 ports of call, and journeyed 750 miles. Ports of call included:
- Mt St Hilaire June 21 – 22
- Quebec City June 30 – July 6
- Trois Rivieres July 11 – 13
- Montreal July 17 – 22
- Sorel July 25 – 27
- Chambly August 1 – 3
- St. Jean August 5 – 7
- Burlington, VT August to October
2009: Quadricentennial Tour
The year 2009 marked the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s brief but historically significant visit to the lake to support an expedition of Indigenous allies asserting territorial boundaries. Champlain’s visit to the lake and the region ushered in two centuries of world-changing military conflict. This was followed by a century and a half of maritime commerce in which Lake Champlain became an indispensable link in the inland navigable waterway system.
Remarkably, at the same time Samuel de Champlain was exploring the lake, Henry Hudson was exploring the river that would carry his name. Thus in 1609 these two explorers, acting independently, encountered the region’s 10,000-plus year old Native American cultures and initiated the 400-year trajectory that modified both the Old World and the New.
The heritage that evolved along these waterways was the 2009 theme for the Lois McClure, exploring the impact of 1609 and our region’s layered and interconnected human history, sharing with our neighbors, visitors, and the world.
In this season, the Lois McClure and its crew of mariners, historians, archaeologists, and storytellers undertook its most ambitious journey to date, a 4-month journey as the Flagship of the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial. In May, the schooner returned to the Richelieu River, tracing the route that Champlain followed on his visit to the lake. In June, the Lois visited communities along both sides of lake for their Quadricentennial celebrations. The journey proceeded further south through the Champlain Canal and onto the Hudson River, raising awareness of Champlain and Hudson and the changes they initiated.
This season we welcomed 18,000 visitors in 24 ports of call:
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum May 7 – 27
- Chambly, QC June 2 – 5
- Chambly, QC June 6 horse tow
- St, Jean, QC June 7 – 9
- Isle Aux Noix, QC June 11 – 13
- St. Albans, VT June 16 – 20
- Rouse’s Point, NY June 23 – 24
- Isle La Motte, VT June 26 – 27
- Burlington, VT June 29 – July 2
- Malletts Bay Colchester, VT July 4
- Burlington, VT July 6 – 13
- Vergennes, VT July 16 – 19
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum July 21 – 30
- Essex, NY August 1 – 2
- Port Henry, NY August 4 – 6
- Westport, NY August 8 -9
- Plattsburgh, NY August 11 – 12
- Burlington, VT August 14 – 16
- Shoreham, VT August 21 -22
- Whitehall, NY August 25 -26
- Schuylerville, NY August 28 – 30
- Fort Edward, NY September 1 – 2
- Mechanicville, NY September 4 – 5
- Waterford, NY September 11 – 13
- Crown Point, NY September 17 – 20
- Shelburne Shipyard Haul-Out Sept 22 – October 6
2010: World Canals Conference Tour
The World Canals Conference was held in Rochester, NY in September 2010. The Lois McClure attended as a centerpiece exhibit, presenting the opportunity to reintroduce the historic Lake Champlain sailing canal schooner to the city and the region.
Our tour in Rochester showcased the historical linkages of the Mohawk River and Erie Canal to the 1609 explorations by Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson. The tour interpreted the cultural heritage and archaeological legacy of our interconnected waterways. Visitors and school groups to the schooner learned about the market opportunities in the 19th and 20th centuries created by the connected waterways for lumber, iron, farm products, quarried stone, and more. Public visitors also got the chance to explore aspects of regional military history, commercial history, and present-day environmental stewardship and recreation.
A visitor wrote in the guest book, “I’ve been following the schooner since her first ribs were in. What an outstanding portrayal of history. Thank you for visiting our community and giving us the opportunity to step back in time with you.”
On the trip home, we received weather reports of storms and rising flood waters on the Mohawk River. Unfortunately, our faithful tugboat’s propeller shaft had a malfunction, just shy of our destination, and we had to scramble for repairs. Thankfully, our friends at the New York State Canal Corporation came to the rescue with overnight machine shop access and we were on our way again to safe harbor just in time to avoid the flooding behind us. Our difficulties reminded us of the hardships canalers experienced every day.
On the 2010 tour, we welcomed 12,000 visitors at 21 ports of call, traveling over 750 miles:
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum July 17 – 19
- Whitehall, NY July 24
- Fort Edward, NY July 26
- Schuylerville, NY July 28
- Fort Plain, NY August 3
- Ilion, NY August 5
- Utica, NY August 7 – 8
- Baldwinsville, NY August 13 – 14
- Geneva, NY August 20 – 22
- Seneca Falls, NY August 27
- Clyde, NY August 29
- Newark, NY august 31
- Palmyra, NY September 2
- Fairport, NY September 5
- Spencerport, NY September 7
- Middleport, NY September 9
- Lockport, NY September 12
- Rochester, NY September 17 – 22
- Syracuse, NY September 28 – 30
- Waterford, NY October 7 – 9, 10
- Ferrisburgh, VT LCMM October 15 – 17
2011: Farm, Forest, and Fishery Tour: Sailing for a Healthy Land and Lake
Our initial plan for our 2011 tour was to operate Lois McClure on Lake Champlain for the first half of the season and then travel on the Champlain and Erie Canals, engaging in school programs while returning north along the Champlain Canal and participating in the opening celebration for the new Champlain Bridge.
However, the 2011 season will be remembered as the year Mother Nature reaffirmed that best laid plans are still subject to her whims. Early spring floods reached historic levels and delayed all activity along the entire Lake Champlain waterfront. When the flood waters finally receded in late June, the Lois McClure was able to visit communities along the lake. The devastating wake of Hurricane Irene impacted many communities, and the eastern portion of the Erie Canal was so badly damaged by flood waters on the Mohawk River that it was impassable for boat traffic.
Undaunted, after discussion with community representatives we traveled to Waterford and Troy to provide a respite from the storm. While we were en route to those communities, Tropical Storm Lee forced the closure of the Champlain Canal and re-flooded Waterford. This unprecedented and historic series of extreme weather events devastated shoreline and river communities, farmers, and regional infrastructure. The Lois endured through high water and wind and suffered little physical damage, but it forced us to be more creative and flexible with our tour. Our redesigned grand finale was a benefit for farmers impacted by flooding.
In 2011, we welcomed 10,000 visitors at 18 ports, traveling over 400 miles:
- Burlington, VT July 3 – August 12
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum July 20 – 31
- Burlington, VT (ECHO) August 2 – 14
- St. Albans, VT August 16 – 17
- Plattsburgh, NY August 20 – 21
- Essex, NY August 24 – 25
- Vergennes, VT August 27
- Shoreham, VT September 3
- Whitehall, NY September 6
- Mechanicville, NY September 18 – 20
- Fort Edward, NY September 22 – 25
- Schuylerville, NY September 27 – 28
- Whitehall, NY September 30
- Port Henry, NY October 3 – 4
- Westport, NY October 6
- Kingsland Bay, VT October 8
- Ferrisburgh, VT October 10 – 13
- Crown Point, NY October 15 – 16
War of 1812: A Three-Year Program
To mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, over three years we strived to present the underlying causes, major chapters, and implications of the War of 1812 to American and Canadian audiences.
Over the course of three seasons, we welcomed 50,000 visitors, visited 104 ports, and travelled over 3,100 miles.
2012: War of 1812 Year 1: Commemorating the War and Celebrating the Peace
To kick off our three years commemorating the War of 1812, we spent 2012 introducing the impact of the War of 1812 and how it connects to our replica 1862-class sailing canal schooner. While Lois McClure is not a replica of a warship and never carried a cannon, it represents the post-war industry of our region and the canals built after the War of 1812. Specifically, visitors on board learned how after the War of 1812 ended, many war planners had the expectation that we would be at war again and the region’s waterways and the construction of the canals were a key part of this strategy.
The Rideau Canal, connecting Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario, was a military canal from conception to completion, with blockhouses and fortified homes for lockkeepers. In contrast, the Erie and Champlain Canals were primarily viewed as corridors of commerce but used the military supply argument to help make their case for construction. Ironically, we learned that the Chambly Canal, built as an attempt to restore the north-flowing trade that had been lost when the Champlain Canal opened to the Hudson in 1823, was opposed by war planners who saw it more as a potential source of attack from the US. Despite all this and instead of war, Great Britain, the United States, and Canada have enjoyed 200 years of peace and growing economic and cultural relations.
- Crown Point Bridge Celebration May 19 – 20
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, VT May 22 – 25
- Point Bay Marina, VT May 26
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, VT May 27 – 30
- Plattsburgh, NY June 2 – 3
- Burlington, VT June 5 – 12
- Grand Isle, VT June 14
- St. Albans, VT June 16 – 17
- Rouse’s Point, NY June 19 – 20
- Isle aux Noix, QC June 22 – 24
- St. Jean, QC June 26 – 27
- Chambly, QC June 28 – July 1
- St Ours, QC July 4
- St Anne de Sorel, QC July 6 – 8
- Old Port, Montreal, QC July 12 – 15
- Lachine Canal, Montreal, QC July 20 – 22
- St Anne de Bellevue, QC July 25
- Carillon, QC July 27
- Montebello, QC July 29
- Ottawa, ON August 1 – 6
- Merrickville, ON August 10
- Smith’s Falls, ON August 12
- Kingston, ON August 18 – 19
- Sackett’s Harbor, NY August 25 – 26
- Oswego, NY September 1 – 4
- Phoenix, NY September 7 – 8
- Rome, NY September 11
- Frankfort, NY September 13
- Little Falls, NY September 15 – 16
- Fort Plain, NY September 18
- Canajoharie, NY September 20
- Amsterdam, NY September 22 – 23
- Half Moon, NY September 25
- Greenbush, NY September 27
- Waterford, NY September 29 – 30
- Schuylerville, NY October 2 – 3
- Whitehall, NY October 6 – 7
- Essex, NY October 10 – 11
- Vergennes, VT October 13 – 14
2013: War of 1812 Year 2: 1813: The Shipwrights’ War
In 2013, we continued our three-year theme exploring the history and impact of the War of 1812. The 2013 tour focused on the events of 1813 when shipwrights on both sides of the conflict took center stage as they battled for maritime supremacy on the upper lakes.
The 2013 tour traveled the full length of the New York State canal system, through the heart of New York State from Whitehall to Buffalo and explored the Battle of Lake Erie. We returned to Lake Champlain via Lake Ontario and then the St. Lawrence River, touching on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border. Many of the communities we visited had been touched by the 1813 conflict.
The 2013 tour will also be remembered as an intense exercise in perseverance. Heavy rain, floods, and damage delayed our westward movement for five weeks but hard work, skill, and dedication of the crew and assistance from communities along the way helped us complete the tour and exceed our expectations.
- Plattsburgh, NY June 1 – 2
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, VT June 4 – 6
- Whitehall, NY June 8 – 9
- Waterford, NY June 12
- Rochester, NY June 26
- Brockport, NY June 29
- Medina, NY July 1
- Tonawonda, NY July 4
- Buffalo, NY July 6 – 8
- Lockport, NY July 10
- Spencerport, NY July 13
- Fairport, NY July 15
- Lyons, NY July 18
- Baldwinsville, NY July 21
- Oswego, NY July 26 – 28
- Sackets Harbor, NY August 3 – 4
- Cape Vincent, NY August 7
- Clayton, NY August 10 – 11
- Alexandria Bay, NY August 16 – 17
- Morristown, NY August 19
- Ogdensburg, NY August 21
- Gananoque, ON August 24 – 25
- Brockville, ON August 27
- Prescott, ON August 29
- Morrisburgh, ON August 31
- Saleberry de Valleyfield, QC September 7 – 8
- Sainte Anne de Bellevue. QC September 10
- Montreal, QC September 12 – 15
- Sorel, QC September 17
- Mont St Hilaire, QC September 21
- Chambly, QC September 24
- St. Jean, QC September 26
- Isle aux Noix, QC September 28
- Rouse’s Point, NY September 30
- Plattsburgh, NY October 2
- Burlington, VT October 4 – 6
2014: War of 1812 Year 3: Battle for Lake Champlain
The 2014 tour of the canal schooner Lois McClure was the third and final installment of the Museum’s initiative to interpret the War of 1812. The three-month, 32-community tour brought the Lois McClure to communities between New York City and Chambly, Quebec. Touring Lake Champlain, the Hudson River, and the Richelieu River we presented Lake Champlain’s role in the 1814 conflicts in the Champlain Valley that helped bring the war to a negotiated end.
We welcomed 15,000 people aboard the schooner for engaging conversations:
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, VT May 27 – June 26
- Point Bay Marina, Charlotte, VT June 27
- Westport, NY June 29
- Burlington, VT July 1 – 6
- Essex, NY July 8
- Vergennes, VT July 11 – 13
- St. Albans, VT July 16
- Isle La Motte, VT July 18 – 19
- Shoreham, VT July 23
- Whitehall, NY July 26
- Fort Edward, NY July 28
- Schuylerville, NY July 30
- Mechanicville, NY August 1
- Albany, NY August 4
- Catskill, NY August 6
- Kingston, NY August 8 – 9
- Poughkeepsie, NY August 12
- Beacon, NY August 14
- Cold Spring, NY August 16 – 17
- Yonkers, NY August 21
- NYC, Pier 25 August 23 – 25
- West Point, NY August 28
- Waterford, NY September 5 – 6
- Crown Point, NY September 11
- Plattsburgh, NY September 14
- Rouses Point, NY September 18
- Isle aux Noix, QC September 20 – 21
- Chambly, QC September 24
- St Jean, QC September 26
The schooner was at port in Burlington but unable to host visitors due to required maintenance and repairs. A tent nearby on the waterfront presented the new interpretive exhibit Maritime Burlington and served as headquarters for Museum’s summer camps.
We welcomed 3,100 visitors at the Burlington port site.
In 2018, the schooner returned to Burlington for the season, open to visitors 5 days a week, and hosting the Museum’s summer camps.
We welcomed 2,100 visitors on board.
2017: Legacy Tour Waterways & Trees: Stewarding Their Interconnected Relationship
In 2017, we revisited theErie Canalway National Heritage Corridor with our new “Stem to Stern” curriculum, exploring how the health of our forests and waterways are connected and interdependent. Along the tour, we celebrated the vital role of “boat-wood” trees such as white oak and white pine that have been essential for centuries in boatbuilding as well as in the forest ecosystem. The crew gave host communities on the tour a sapling of each species to help provide wood for future boat builders. Visitors onboard learned about the importance of responsibly harvesting timber, fishing our lakes, and boating our waterways to ensure that these resources continue for the next generation of stewardship. (Our thanks to sapling donors George and Jane Pauk and the Canal Forest Restoration Project for their support!)
In 2017, we welcomed 10,000 visitors on board at 34 ports, traveling over 1,000 miles:
- Westport, NY July 1 – 2
- Fort Edward, NY July 5
- Schuylerville, NY July 6
- Waterford, NY July 8 – 9
- Amsterdam, NY July 13
- Canajoharie, NY July 14
- Little Falls, NY July 15 – 16
- Utica, NY July 19
- Rome, NY July 21 – 22
- Weedsport, NY Jul 26
- Lyons, NY July 29
- Fairport, NY July 31
- Rochester, NY August 4 – 5
- Spencerport, NY July 7
- Holley, NY August 8
- Medina, NY August 10
- Lockport, NY August 12 – 13
- N. Tonawanda, NY August 15
- Buffalo, NY August 18 -20
- Pendelton, NY August 21
- Middleport, NY August 23
- Brockport, NY August 26 – 27
- Pittsford, NY August 29
- Palmyra, NY August 31
- Newark, NY September 2 – 3
- Clyde, NY September 7
- Seneca Falls, NY September 9 – 10
- Phoenix, NY September 14
- Brewerton, NY September 16 – 17
- Syracuse, NY (World Canal Conference) September 24 – 25
- Baldwinsville, NY September 27
- Ilion, NY September 30
- St Johnsville, NY October 2
- Waterford, NY October 8 -10
2018: Glass Barge Tour
In 2018, the Corning Museum of Glass planned their 150th anniversary celebration in collaboration with the Museum and the Lois McClure, creating an on-water tour to commemorate their move to Corning, NY. The tour retraced the historic move of Flint Glass Works, via canal, from Brooklyn to Corning, NY, where the company became Corning Glass Works, today known as Corning Incorporated.
The joint tour featured professional glass artists on board the Corning Museum’s Glass Barge, offering live glassblowing demonstrations in a mobile hot glassworks placed on the barge, showcasing the beauty and science of glass. Aboard Lois McClure, trained historians, educators, and archaeologists welcomed the public to visit with the crew and learn about history of the canal systems and the momentous trip of Corning Glass.
Lois McClure began the five-month tour on May 17 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We accompanied the Glass Barge to Corning, New York, with numerous stops along the route. The tour’s arrival in Corning was marked by a community-wide celebration on September 22. After this celebration Lois McClure, headed back to Burlington, Vermont, solo. We made stops along the way and arrived in Burlington on October 6 for a community-wide celebration to welcome the Lois home after a 2-year absence.
In 2018, we welcomed 33,000 visitors at 31 ports of call, traveling over 1,100 miles:
- Brooklyn, NY May 19 – May 28
- Yonkers, NY June 1 – 3
- Poughkeepsie, NY June 9 – 10
- Kingston, NY June 15 – 17
- Waterford, NY June 23 – 24
- Amsterdam, NY June 26 – 27
- Canajoharie, NY June 28
- Little Falls, NY June 30 – July 1
- Ilion, NY July 3
- Rome, NY July 4 – 5
- Sylvan Beach, NY July 7 – 8
- Brewerton, NY July 13 – 15
- Lyons, NY July 18
- Fairport, NY July 20 – 22
- Holley, NY July 24
- Lockport, NY July 28 – 29
- Tonawanda, NY July 31
- Buffalo, NY August 3 – 5
- Middleport, NY August 8
- Medina, NY August 11 – 12
- Brockport, NY August 18 – 19
- Spencerport, NY August 22
- Pittsford, NY August 25 – 26
- Palmyra, NY Lock E29 August 28
- Seneca Falls, NY September 1 – 3
- Geneva, NY September 6
- Watkins Glen, NY September 13 – 16
- Fort Plain, NY September 25
- Mechanicville, NY September 28
- Whitehall, NY September 30
- Burlington, VT October 6 – 8
2019: International Year of the Salmon
In 2019, Lois McClure crew and volunteers toured the lake to share the history, ecology, and conservation story of Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain. Visitors in key ports around the lake experienced stories of environmental change, human impacts, and the feats of ingenuity and cooperation underway to bring Atlantic Salmon back to these waters after an absence of more than 150 years.
Originally native to Lake Champlain, the loss of the salmon to our local waters caught the attention of concerned naturalists. As early as the 19th century, writers like George Perkins Marsh drew attention to these issues and began to consider them in holistic terms. Migratory salmon were a difficult species to understand in an era before the fields of ecology and conservation existed. Attempts to restore Atlantic salmon across the region in the 1800s showed little success, but these experiments led to better understanding of fish and their needs. Ultimately, it would take a century of scientific research to successfully restore the salmon. Natural populations of salmon were absent from the Champlain Basin for nearly 180 years, between 1838 and 2016. In 2019 we celebrated some early positive signs of the potential for wild salmon population returning to Lake Champlain.
In 2019, we welcomed 3,000 visitors at 5 ports of call:
- Burlington, VT July 2 – 7
- Westport, NY July 13 – 14
- Plattsburgh, NY July 20 – 21
- Willsboro, NY July 27 – 28
- Ferrisburgh, VT (LCMM) August
2020: Women’s Suffrage
This season, our exhibit on the Lois McClure was planned to present stories of women leaders of Lake Champlain as part of our commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Lake Champlain’s working waterfront has always been an environment in which women, by choice or necessity, have overcome the limitations of gender stereotypes. For more than two centuries, women have operated many cross-lake ferries – from row boats and sail ferries, to steamboats, and modern diesel-powered double-enders. Visitors were to be invited to experience what life was like for families who lived aboard these boats in the 19th century and new interpretive banners would have shared new stories of scientists and community leaders who are shaping Lake Champlain today.
Although the tour was cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the interpretive banners were produced for viewing at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and the stories of women leaders of Lake Champlain were presented in a new exhibit on our Digital Museum webpage.
The Lois McClure tour was planned to engage audiences throughout the Lake Champlain Basin in the history and legacy of temperance, prohibition, and smuggling on Lake Champlain. Lois McClure would have toured the Champlain Valley to engage the public in the complex stories of temperance, prohibition, and smuggling on Lake Champlain. Using research on prohibition and smuggling on Lake Champlain, we planned to tour ports around the Lake Champlain Basin including stops in sites of importance to the history of temperance, prohibition, and smuggling in our region.
The tour of the schooner was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the schooner was at the Museum’s North Harbor and open for visitation 3 days per week, and new interpretive displays were produced for viewing at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and electronically on our Digital Museum webpage