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Shipwrights by Improbable Escapes

Shipwrights by Improbable Escapes​An immersive ‘escape room’ experience with nautical-themed puzzles and challenges. Suitable for groups of 2-6 people.

Special Events

There’s always something new on the horizon. Discover our upcoming events, spread the word, and mark your calendar.

Children &
Youth (Age 5-13)

Programs to ignite curiosity and provide opportunity for exploration! Delivered virtually or in-person, these group programs can be adapted for ages 5-13.


The Nautical Nights Speaker Series, in partnership with Kingston Yacht Club (KYC), has become an annual tradition at the Great Lakes Museum.


Life-long learning is a journey of continuous growth and development, enriching our lives with new knowledge and perspectives. Immerse yourself in the history of the Great Lakes!

About the

Archives and artefacts. A library collection covering all aspects of Canadian shipping and marine heritage. Photographs, shipping company collections and shipbuilding and design collections.

Ship Lists

A selection of unique registers of ships and individuals that were compiled to facilitate the research process.

Ways of Giving

Donate your time. Donate your money. Become a member. Leave a gift in your will. There are many ways to support the museum and we appreciate your interest in supporting the Great Lakes Museum!

The Story of the Great Lakes Museum

‘Know the Ropes’ – Museum News & Stories

Explore the rich maritime history of the Great Lakes, read the stories of our artefacts, find out interesting information to share at your next party! Know the Ropes shares a mix of museum news and interesting stories.

Our Story


The Story of the Great Lakes Museum

The Pumphouse and later buildings

Our history is intimately entwined with the space we inhabit.

The Great Lakes Museum is fortunate to be located on an national historic site that forms a considerable part of the Museum’s narrative.  It means that the Museum is able to at once share the story of the maritime heritage of Kingston and the Great Lakes, all the while connecting visitors to a physical piece of that history.

Established in 1975 by a group of local divers who sought to protect the artefacts of the shipwrecks they explored, the Museum occupied the Kingston Dry Dock property (formerly the location of the Kingston Shipyards Co.) from 1975-2016. The Museum was forced to vacate the property in 2016 when the federally-owned property was sold to a local developer, and moved to its storefront gallery location at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.

In August 2019, the Museum purchased the historic property following a gift from a local benefactor, and in October 2021 it moved back home. This set in motion our plans to create a new 21st century Museum a reality. In 2023, another big step forward was the arrival of our museum ship the S.S. Keewatin which opens May 2024.

Follow our story

Click play below to follow the story of the Museum and its Kingston Dry Dock national historic site


Future Plans

Find out more about the planned future of the Great Lakes Museum via our strategic plan Steering into the Future.


Landing - Land and Water Acknowledgement

Land & Water Acknowledgement

The Great Lakes Museum at Kingston (Katarokwi) acknowledges the site it sits on and the water it interacts with to be the traditional territory of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy and the Huron-Wendat Peoples.