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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.

Join our Crew and Volunteer!


Join the Crew by Volunteering!

It takes a dedicated crew to (wo)man-a-ship, and we are incredibly grateful for ours.

The Great Lakes Museum derives its strength from its many volunteers. In fact, our museum was founded over 45-years ago by a group of dedicated divers concerned with the preservation of maritime cultural heritage! We would not be what we are today without them.

Our volunteers work closely with museum staff to support projects, activities and administration. They are an invaluable part of our team. Over the years volunteers have been involved with everything from gift shop management and Alexander Henry tours to administration and board committees. There is also a dedicated group who have worked on numerous boat restoration projects; restoring such treasures at the Mowat Boat and most recently a small fleet of Y-flyers.

Whether you’re an experienced sailor with extensive nautical knowledge or a student looking for your forty hours of community service, the Great Lakes Museum offers a volunteer opportunity for everyone – scroll down for a list of volunteer opportunities!

150+ volunteers


We’re looking for enthusiastic receptionists to assist museum staff with greeting visitors, admission and booking experiences. This position is a great opportunity to work in a friendly and creative work environment while learning about local maritime heritage. Full details »

Visitor Experience
Passionate about heritage and engaging with people? We’re always looking for support with visitor experience; including tour guides, docents and event support.

Painters/Movers/Picnic table-makers!

We’re looking for painters, carpenters, general labourers to help us continue the renovation work in our galleries and aboard the S.S. Keewatin.

Volunteer Projects

When news came in summer 2019 that we had re-acquired our historic 55 Ontario St. property – volunteers were all hands on deck. Our dedicated volunteers took on the enormous task of cleaning the exterior and interior of the building, re-building the flower beds, repairing doors, and so much more. Their most impressive accomplishments are evident throughout the Museum from the newly restored Pump Room and exhibit spaces to the opening of the S.S. Keewatin for visitors. We could not have done any of it without them.

Over the past couple years their work has focused on the beautification of our space in preparation for new exhibits and interpretation. And let’s not forget the remarkable work that goes into the gardens and landscaping – our East Pier welcomed visitors after 15 years of disuse! It was wonderful sight to see the space providing access to the waterfront.

Volunteers are also present in the back-end supporting project management, governing committee work and strategic planning at the Board of Directors level.

If you are looking to keep busy, support a great local cause and join a team of passionate individuals, consider volunteering with us.

Volunteer Form

Ready to Join the Crew?

Members of our crew

Peter Ashley

Peter Ashley

Peter started with the Museum as a tour guide and was involved with the arduous process of packing the Museum in 2016. He now volunteers twice a week to support site renovations.
Peter says, “the need to give time, knowledge and energy” is what motivates him. “The Museum needs this” he adds.
Monique Anderson

Monique Anderson

I am excited to be part of the Great Lakes Museum experience as a volunteer. Growing up I heard many stories about the Keewatin and the Assiniboia, as my father worked on both ships. I have enjoyed watching the progress being made at the Museum and being part of this community.

Dave Shurtleff

Dave Shurtleff

“After I retired I was looking for an activity unlike what I did every day, preferably one that involved some physical activity and where I could associate with similar minded individuals.

My activities at the Museum are varied. Originally I worked on boat restoration (Angus Mowat) and building displays for the galleries. I am most proud of the work to bring the Museum back to life.”



Long-time museum volunteer Marje Burggraf, author-editor-researcher Marie Edwards, and retired librarian Jo Stanbridge work to organize the 13,000+ volumes in the Museum’s research library. The team meets weekly to sort, organize, conserve, label and inventory the items in this unique and valuable collection.

Volunteer Policy

The Great Lakes Museum engages volunteers at all levels of its operation. The Museum encourages a mutually beneficial environment where members of the Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers work in a collegial atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance to achieve common goals and objectives which will benefit the Museum.

A volunteer is defined as an individual who performs a service requested, agreed upon, and supervised by the Great Lakes Museum without expectation of compensation. Such an individual agrees to adhere to all relevant federal, provincial and municipal regulations which govern their actions and to follow the policies of the Great Lakes Museum.

Direct administration of volunteers (recruitment, retention and recognition) is the responsibility of the Executive Director with the assistance of the Volunteer Committee, and is guided by Great Lakes Museum Volunteer Policies and Procedures.