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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.

Nautical
Nights

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

Lifelong
Learning

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
Collection

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.

Kingston Dry Dock & Pump House

SEE HOW A STEAM-POWERED DRY DOCK OPERATES

A Designated National Historic Site

The Kingston Dry Dock and Pump House is a designated national historic site built 1890-92 located on Mississauga Point. It formed part of the Kingston Shipyards which closed in 1968. The Dry Dock played a significant part in the maritime heritage and history of Kingston and the Great Lakes for over 70 years. It was an important building and repair facility for ships as it provided dry working access to the exterior of a vessel below the waterline. The dock was originally built with limestone and had a floor length of 85.3 metres. It was later extended using concrete to 115.2 metres in the 1920s to allow for the servicing of larger vessels.

Still in place are the Victorian-era steam engines and pumps that operated the dry dock. Visitors are welcome to explore the Pump Room and get up close and personal with this historic machinery and its inner workings. We have to answers to your questions, like how long it took to drain the dry dock? How many tons of coal was needed to power the engines? What differentiates these pumps from those of train? And, so many more!

The Museum has been located at this site since 1975, bar a brief hiatus from 2016-2019 when the property was sold by the Federal government to a local developer. In 2019, the Museum was successful in raising funds to purchase the property and moved operations home in October 2021. It had been temporarily located at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Since its return, staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to restore this national historic site and renovate gallery spaces in preparation for new exhibits.