Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Hosts Award-Winning Author Nathaniel Philbrick  


For Information Contact: Eloise Beil, Community Relations Manager, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (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 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.