Learn How 26 pieces of lead changed the American Revolution

Learn How 26 pieces of lead changed the American Revolution

(Hint: they weren’t musket balls)

 DSC_2640Learn how 26 pieces of lead printing type changed the course of the American Revolution during an informative and entertaining discussion of colonial printers, their secrets, and their penchant for stirring up trouble for the Crown. At Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Rabble in Arms Weekend August 6-7, master letterpress printer Ronald Kermani will show how colonial printers set type, printed pamphlets by hand one at a time, and distributed these

thought-provoking anti-British missives throughout the colonies. “During the Revolution, the printing press was as powerful as the largest army in defeating the British,” Kermani asserts.

 During the program, Kermani will handset lead printing type and print Revolutionary War-style items on the museum’s vintage hand press.  Attend his session and you may receive a personalized printed souvenir of the Rabble in Arms weekend! Along the way, you can learn about the history of printing, the invention of moveable metal type and printing presses in Europe, and the introduction of the printing craft to the Colonies. Kermani became immersed in typography and printing while studying at Syracuse University. Along the way, he has taught graphic arts and letterpress printing, founded the award-winning Kermani Press, and amassed a sizeable collection of antique wood and metal foundry types which he donated to the Albany Institute of History and Art.

 KLJ_1117While the centerpiece of this event is LCMM’s replica 1776 gunboat Philadelphia, the Rabble in Arms weekend also provides a chance to see other eighteenth century skills in action, including encampment food preparation and open fire cooking presented by reenactors with years of experience in colonial cookery. Kids will have the chance to join the Colonial Army and learn musket drills (with wooden muskets of course), and much more! On-water battle demonstration at 1 pm each day brings to life the confrontation between rebelling colonists and British forces on Lake Champlain. Camp is open 10-5 Saturday and 10-4 Sunday.

 KLJ_1067Want to learn more about Nautical Archaeology? A selection of maps, documents, and photographs from the collection of Lake Champlain historian Peter Barranco provides glimpses into the Battle of Valcour Island, the War of 1812, Lake Champlain’s steamboats, and the ten-year sonar survey of Lake Champlain’s 300+ shipwrecks.

 KLJ_1057Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is open daily through October 9. Check online for Special admission package of Museum/Lunch/Cruise, and for more information about Courses and Workshops and “60 Minute Experiences” in glass blowing, blacksmithing, and metal work. Find out more about LCMM at www.lcmm.org, on Facebook, or call (802) 475-2022.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Lake Champlain Maritime Festival







Friday July 28, Saturday July 29 and Sunday July 30

Schooner Lois McClure, at Perkins Pier. Boarding hours 10am-4pm.

Step aboard Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s replica 1862 canal schooner, based on two historic shipwrecks in Burlington Bay. Explore the deck, cabin, and cargo hold, and view exhibit on the history of Burlington.


Saturday July 30

Champlain Longboats Rowing Opportunities, at Perkins Pier 10am-3pm

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s colorful 32’ rowing boats are built by students in the Museum Boat Shop, and used for After School Youth Rowing, Adult Community Rowing, and regional competitions. Learn the basics and go for a row! (Weather permitting)


Sunday Morning July 31

Log Rolling, at Burlington Boathouse 10am – 12:30 and 1-3pm

Danielle Rougeau, coach of the Middlebury College Log Rolling Club, demonstrates the traditional skill of maneuvering floating 12’ wooden and synthetic logs. Bring your bathing suit and try it for yourself! (Weather permitting)

Champlain Longboats Rowing Opportunities, at Perkins Pier 10am-2pm

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s colorful 32’ rowing boats are built by students in the Museum Boat Shop, and used for After School Youth Rowing, Adult Community Rowing, and regional competitions. Learn the basics and go for a row! (Weather permitting)

Lake Champlain Sailing Center’s Water Works Fair

Waterfront Park, adjacent to ECHO, 10am-2pm

Visit Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s shoreside activity at the Water Works Fair. Complete five activities to earn a voucher for a ride in the Champlain Longboats at Perkins Pier. (Weather permitting)

Do You Want to See a Shipwreck?

We sometimes ask our visitors to guess how many shipwrecks lie at the bottom of beautiful Lake Champlain. The answers vary – 10? 20? 100? Believe it or not, all those guesses are lower than the actual number! There are actually over three hundred shipwrecks at the bottom of this historic lake. Lake Champlain has been an important strategic waterway for hundreds of years, from its tactical significance during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to its use as a key thoroughfare for industry ships and luxury steamliners during the 19th century. With so many ships traversing the lake, it’s no small wonder some of them ended up on the bottom – and the dark, cold waters preserve the wrecks remarkably well.

At the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, part of our mission involves cataloguing these fascinating these archaeological resources. Now you can explore them too – without getting wet!

Take a one-hour tour with us to see a historic shipwreck via ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), which streams video in real time as we share the vessel’s incredible story. This all-ages experience is sure to captivate your whole family!

For more information or to book your place, visit our Shipwreck Tours page. Happy exploring!

Video Production Lake Adventure Camp 2016


Video Production Lake Adventure Camp 2016 has come and gone, but we have the films to remember the week! Here is one of the videos our campers shot and produced of a rowing adventure on Lake Champlain.

Campers shot and edited videos while rowing, learning to blacksmith, hiking, and even snorkeling! They leaned to shoot with GoPro cameras to tell the story of their adventures on, in, and around Lake Champlain and how to edit their footage using Adobe Premiere.


KLJ_4543 KLJ_4601

Get Out on the Water at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Annual Challenge Race!

Get Out on the Water at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Annual Challenge Race
Calling all paddlers, rowers, and on-water adventurers! The annual Lake Champlain Challenge Race is coming up on Sunday July 10, 2016 at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont. The Challenge Race follows a three mile triangular course which includes some of most beautiful scenery on Lake Champlain.  The registration fee of $25.00 per person includes museum admission for two. Registration starts at 9:30 and the race begins at 11:00 and is open to all types of human-powered boats: singles, doubles, kayaks, paddleboards, paddleboats, 6 oar or 20 oar! Minors can participate with parental permission. Bring your own boat, or sign up to reserve one of ours — a few canoes and kayaks will be available on a first-come basis. All boaters must provide their own PFDs. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Community Rowing Club will provide a free buffet lunch on the Museum grounds for all participants after the race.
In recent years, the Sunday Challenge Race has become a destination for rowers coming from across New England and Canada to camp at nearby campgrounds for three days.  They assemble at the museum on Saturday for informal racing and social gatherings before retiring to their campsites and hotels for the night.  “A large contingent of enthusiastic rowers are coming from Picton, Ontario for their third annual voyage and competition against the Americans, bringing with them numerous supporters,” says Lisa Percival, who coordinates LCMM’s Community Rowing Club. “We are expecting teams from New Haven, CT, and Plymouth, Hull, and Gloucester MA. There will be teams from our local adult community rowing club, current students and alumni from our high school rowing program, and of course lots of people who just love to kayak or canoe.” 
Among the Challenge Race participants this year is a team of eight women and four men that will travel to Northern Ireland in late July for the St. Ayles’ Skiff World Championships at Strangford Lough, County Down. The New England team will include four rowers each from LCMM, Hull Lifesaving Museum, and Gloucester Gig Rowers. LCMM men will also team up with a club from near Kingston, Ontario for certain races. The event in Ireland will field crews from about 50 clubs representing at least 8 countries. LCMM constructed two St. Ayles Skiffs in 2011, and sent a team to the first “SkiffieWorlds” event in Ullapool, Scotland, in 2013. 
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Community Rowing Club and Rowing For Racing meet weekly at the Museum’s Ferrisburgh campus. For information contact Lisa Percival,lisap@lcmm.org . The Museum is open daily from 10-5 through October 9. Additional rowing and racing events take place in the autumn and early spring. Find out more about LCMM at www.lcmm.org , on Facebook, or call (802) 475-2022.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Hosts Award-Winning Author Nathaniel Philbrick  


For Information Contact: Eloise Beil, Community Relations Manager, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum eloiseb@lcmm.org (802) 475-2022 ext. 107
For event tickets, please click here. 

PhilbrickOn Tuesday, June 7, award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick makes a special appearance in Burlington in support of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM)’s education programs. The event celebrates the release of Philbrick’s new book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. “Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is delighted to celebrate the publication of this new work,” comments LCMM Executive Director Mike Smiles. “Nathaniel Philbrick puts this important Champlain Valley story into its national context.” The program, which includes book signing, lecture and reception, will be held at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center at 60 Lake Street, Burlington. Seating is limited and reservations are required; tickets are available online at www.lcmm.org or by phone 802 475-2022.

Released in May, Philbrick’s book has brought renewed national attention to Lake Champlain’s part in the American struggle for independence, and the tragic relationship of George Washington and Benedict Arnold. In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental army under novice commander George Washington evacuated New York. Three weeks later, Benedict Arnold’s hastily assembled American fleet miraculously succeeded in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain. Although Washington relied on Arnold as a trusted and brilliant officer, the ending of the story is common knowledge: Arnold’s decision to transfer his allegiance to the British made his name synonymous with traitor. Reexamining the crucial period in which the hero of Valcour Island became embittered and alienated while the emerging nation struggled to figure out how it should be led, Philbrick’s narrative is a timely reminder that the real threat to American liberties sometimes comes from within.

phil_sailIn 1991, LCMM staff and volunteers built a full-sized, working replica of Benedict Arnold’s gunboat Philadelphia. The vessel remains the most popular exhibit at the Museum campus. In 1997, the Museum’s team of nautical archaeologists located the last missing gunboat from Arnold’s fleet upright and intact at the bottom of the lake; LCMM co-founder and Director Emeritus Art Cohn continues to work with the U. S. Navy on planning for the future of the historic shipwreck. Artifacts in LCMM’s Key to Liberty exhibit reveal numerous other personal stories uncovered by the Museum’s archaeological fieldwork and research: fragments of the cannon that exploded on the gunboat New York, killing 26 year old Lt. Thomas Rogers, are displayed alongside a replica of the gravestone erected by “his grieving widow Molly.” The struggles of Jeduthan Baldwin, engineer in charge of building the log bridge across the lake in the winter of 1777 accompany a massive timber that recently washed up on the lake shore; the recollections of Bayze Wells, from Farmington, Connecticut, who kept a journal of his experiences on board one of Arnold’s gunboats have become the soundtrack of a video about the battle.


5 Kinds of Boats You’ll See at LCMM Summer Camps!

Summer is finally on its way to Lake Champlain, and with it, our Lake Adventure Camps! Here at the museum, we’re all busy preparing fun activities for kids from 7-16. As a maritime museum, boats are our favorite resource, and we use several different types of them in our summer camps.

5. Powerboats


They might not be pretty, but they certainly are useful. First developed in 1886, motorboats have rapidly become one of the most popular methods of nautical transportation. We use them to teach safe, respectful boating skills and to just have fun on the water!

4. Canoes

Berube - pairs of canoes in Button Bay 907

Canoes are the oldest form of watercraft on Lake Champlain, and have been used by the lake’s first navigators – its Native American inhabitants – for thousands of years. Because canoes allow their pilot to move quietly and near to the surface of the water, the museum uses them for our On-water Ecology programs to get as close as possible to what we’re studying.

3. Rowing gigs


We’re particularly proud of our pilot gigs, built here at the museum by our students in the Champlain Longboats Program. Every year, students of all backgrounds come to the museum to participate in an intensive boat-building program that develops teamwork and self-esteem together with building skills – and ultimately produce a gig for our rowing programs. It’s happening now – Launch Day is May 26! You can read about some of our previous rowing adventures here.

2. EScape

Champlain II Highlights.Still015

We use the Basin Harbor Club’s tour boat Escape to view the wreck of the Champlain II, one of the last remnants of the age of steam, a bygone era when elegant steamboats traversed Lake Champlain for industry and pleasure. Our campers get to build a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) able to navigate underwater like the ones on our Shipwreck Tours, where we view one of the 300 shipwrecks at the bottom of Lake Champlain without getting wet!

1. Sailboats

Rowing Toward PII hi-res Bessette

LCMM summer camps allow kids to build, sail, or “learn the ropes” aboard an impressive range of vessels, from a two-foot pond yacht to a Revolutionary War gunboat! The pride of our fleet is the Philadelphia II, a historic replica of the gunboat that sank in action at the Battle of Valcour Island in 1776. Learn more about the Philadelphia’s history and the construction of our replica here.

If you’re enrolled in Messing About With Boats, All Aboard!, or our Boating Safety Course, you can expect to see all these boats and more! Why not sign up today?

Benedict Arnold’s Legacy: Tales from Lake Champlain

by Richard Watts, Ph.D. Director: Center for Research on Vermont, UVM

Engraving of Arnold, by H.B. Hall, after John Trumbull

Join LCMM Co-Founder and Director Emeritus Arthur B. Cohn for a talk on May 11, 7:30, at Waterman Memorial Lounge, University of Vermont.

In this talk Art Cohn will examine Lake Champlain’s historical connection to the American Revolution and the fighting field-commander Benedict Arnold. The centerpiece of the presentation will be the pivotal 1776 naval contest between Great Britain, at the time the greatest Naval power on earth, and the fledgling United States of America. The American fleet was under the command of the intense, charismatic and flawed General Benedict Arnold when the two fleets met on October 11th, 1776 for a battle that would help define the outcome of the war. The two combatants fought over three days and 70 miles of Lake Champlain. Art will offer new insight into the often-debated question of whether Benedict Arnold was a “Hero or Traitor.”


The talk will follow the Annual Meeting & Dinner of the Center for Research on Vermont. The public is welcome. Information here or at the Center for Research on Vermont.

Archeological Legacy: Art will also discuss the archaeological legacy of this battle for control of strategic Lake Champlain. The talk will present the 1997 discovery of the gunboat Spitfire, Arnold’s last gunboat unaccounted for after the Battle of Valcour Island, and the complex management plan being completed to decide its future. The talk will invite the audience to offer opinions about what should happen to the warship.

Avday_DSC_4133bout Art: Art Cohn has been studying Benedict Arnold for many years and is currently a Research Fellow at the William Clements Library at the University of Michigan examining the Sir Henry Clinton Papers for clues that will increase our understanding of the war and its participants. Founder and first director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, professional diver and tugboat captain, Art has coordinated and participated in Lake Champlain’s archaeological projects for the past three decades. Cohn has a B.A. in sociology from the University of Cincinnati and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

Sponsored by Special Collections at Bailey-Howe, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum & the Center for Research on Vermont. 


Let’s Go Fishing!

By Erin Sward

KLJ_2615In March, Ecology Programs Director Elizabeth Lee and I participated in Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Let’s Go Fishing program. In short, the Let’s Go Fishing program is a network of volunteer instructors who encourage and teach people of all ages how to fish. Let’s Go Fishing, emphasizes that fishing is more than just catching fish. Fishing is a great way to educate people about water ecology. By teaching ethics and proper fishing techniques, participants develop an appreciation for Vermont’s fish population and habitat.

KLJ_2656What’s neat about the Let’s Go Fishing program is that there is a direct correlation to the LCMM’s “Messing About With Fish” Adventure Camp for youth ages 7-9, June 20-24 at our Vergennes campus. Becoming certified Let’s Go Fishing volunteers expands our ability to teach fellow fish lovers how to protect our fishy resources. Let’s Go fishing will provide the LCMM with a great collection of fishing rods and activities to add to the snorkeling gear, seine nets and tackle that we already use during school field trips and afterschool programs. These resources, paired with the LCMM’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), will give campers the opportunity to look into the deep and identify which fish are swimming where we swim.

KLJ_2517Our thanks to Alison Thomas and Corey Hart at VT Fish and Wildlife Department for running a great training—well-organized, informative, fun and on time! It was nice to meet other Let’s Go Fishing volunteers, including long-time volunteer Karl Hubbard, who helped with LCMM’s watershed education teacher training in 2014. To find out more about Let’s Go Fishing visit VT Fish and Wildlife website.

To register for Messing About with Fish” or other summer programs visit us at LCMM’s website.

Tree Time

By Eloise Beil on April 26, 2016

White Oak seedlings 2
White oak seedlings. Photo by Jennifer Pauk

Earth Day (April 22), for many people the best known part of National Environmental Education Week (April 17-23), is a wonderful time to be thinking about trees. For weeks as we make the transition from winter to spring, the first buds on the trees transform the monochrome landscape with a flush of yellow, green, or red – more subtle than foliage season, but such a boost to the spirits!

This year, spring also brought Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) some wonderful photographs of White Oak seedlings from George Pauk. The seedlings are growing in Washington DC at the home of his daughter and granddaughter – and some of them are destined for the Champlain Valley. These particular seedlings represent a new beginning: a partnership between LCMM and Vermont Family Forests that will involve students in the Champlain Valley and beyond, visiting some of the places where mature White Oak trees can be found, and seeking places where White Oaks used to grow, and might again.

White Oaks have a special place in many of the stories that we tell at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, because they were long prized for ship building. The gunboats in Benedict Arnold’s 1776 fleet were constructed of white oak framing and planks, with masts of lighter-weight pine and ash sweeps (oars). After the Revolutionary War, Levi Allen, who had moved to Canada, contracted to deliver Champlain Valley timber to Quebec firms. A December 1785 order included 20,000 cubic feet of squared white oak, and 10,000 cubic feet of white oak pipe staves – the raw material used for rot-resistant wooden water pipes. Between logging for market, clearing for farmland and fuel, the vast old growth forests of the region vanished. In 2000, when we began work on our replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure, there was not enough local White Oak for the project, bringing the connection between preserving our heritage and preserving our environment into sharp focus.

One of my favorite landmarks on the daily drive along Basin Harbor Road to the Maritime Museum has always been a pair of open fields, each with a single oak tree. The scene inspired my 2003 painting White Oaks, Winter – one of a series called “Vanishing Points,” in which I captured the changing light and weather in landscapes that feel timeless but will only endure if people help to care for them. Last year, time caught up with that particular landscape – one of the oak trees was felled in a storm. While I could accept the loss of this tree to natural causes, I still feel a sense of loss driving by.

White Oaks, Winter - oil painting by Eloise Beil
White Oaks, Winter – oil painting by Eloise Beil

Working with trees involves planning ahead – thinking in years, not just media moments. The storyline about White Oak trees will weave through our stream of blogs in the coming years. “Anyone who has ever floated on a boat, or used liquids aged in barrels, or reclined on a fine piece of oak furniture ought to be interested,” George Pauk wrote recently. “These trees are beautiful, magnificent and meaningful. We are growing in our knowledge, if not much in our acts of preservation and restoration, of natural balance. Perhaps the beginning of wider knowledge and restoration of white oak and white pine to forest strength will be a part of a larger movement toward better water and life for mother earth.”