On YouTube: NYSG's Traveling Great Shipwrecks of NY’s ‘Great’ Lakes Display Makes a Splash in NYC
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - Press Release

NYSG's Traveling Great Shipwrecks of NY’s ‘Great’ Lakes Display Comes Ashore Inaugurally in NYC

Launch of Summer Season at Lilac (Hudson River Park’s Pier 25) with "The Hidden Hulks of New York Harbor" Exhibit from May 27 - July 4; Reception May 25th

NOTE: This exhibit has been extended through mid-July 2017

NOTE: The word ‘Great’ is in quote marks as the exhibit includes the Great Lakes AND inland lakes of NY.


Mary Habstritt, Museum Director, Lilac, P: 917-709-5291

Dave White, New York Sea Grant, E: dgw9@cornell.edu, P: 315.312.3042

Kara Lynn Dunn, Publicist, E: karalynn@gisco.net, P: 315.465.7578

The Great Shipwrecks of NY’s ‘Great’ Lakes exhibit that includes panels on shipwrecks found in, among others, Lakes Ontario, Erie, Champlain and George will visit New York, NY, from May 27 to July 4, 2017. Credit: Mark Malchoff, Lake Champlain Sea Grant

New York, NY, May 19, 2017 - The summer season gets underway at the museum ship Lilac with the exhibit Great Shipwrecks of New York’s ‘Great’ Lakes and The Hidden Hulks of New York Harbor, on view through July 4, 2017. The exhibit opens Thursday, May 25 with a reception that is open to the public from 6 to 9 pm with a cash bar.  David White, Recreation Specialist from New York Sea Grant (NYSG) will share reflections on "The Future of Our Maritime Heritage."

Great Shipwrecks of New York’s ‘Great’ Lakes was created by NYSG for the 2014 New York State Fair, where it will again make an appearance later this summer. Since late Summer 2014, Great Shipwrecks has since traveled to other locations in New York (most recently Plattsburgh City Hall) as well as museums in Pennsylvania and Vermont.  It features wrecks found not only in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie but also Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes and others.  This is its first visit to New York City.

Components of the exhibit — which since its inaugural year of travel has been viewed by well over 50,000 divers, maritime history buffs, and shipwreck enthusiasts — include interpretive panels highlighting a total of a dozen shipwrecks in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes, Lake George and the St. Lawrence River.

“This exhibit provides a window into our history that many don’t often get a chance to see unless you’re an avid diver,” says White. “New York has such a wealth of maritime resources and Great Shipwrecks brings those to life.”

Lilac is a 173-foot, 1933 lighthouse tender that once carried supplies to lighthouses and maintained buoys for the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard.  Decommissioned in 1972, she is now owned by the non-profit Lilac Preservation Project. Credit: Hudson River Park

The study of local wrecks and hulks is highlighted in an added exhibit The Hidden Hulks of New York Harbor, curated by Lilac Preservation Project's Museum Director, Mary Habstritt.  With contributions from local maritime historians and archeologists and artifacts from local collectors and museums, it discusses how the professionals who study wrecks go about their work and it looks at some of the famous ship graveyards of the Harbor and the hulls that have been uncovered during excavations like that for the new World Trade Center. 

"We're pleased to bring the Sea Grant exhibit to Tribeca and introduce New Yorkers to the amazing maritime remnants found in the lakes of their state," said Lilac's Museum Director Mary Habstritt.  "The Sea Grant exhibit triggered a look at our local wrecks and we discovered a wealth of information and interest in the graveyards of hulks and the buried hulls.  We clearly could do a more extensive exhibit about the rich maritime heritage embodied in these decaying remains. This is just a taste"

The opening reception marks the start of Lilac's 2017 season.  The ship will be open regularly starting Saturday, May 27th. To celebrate the 84th anniversary of Lilac's launch, birthday cake will be served to visitors on the 27th.  Hours through October are 4 to 7 pm Thursdays and 2 to 7 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. 

On YouTube: Exploring New York's Sunken Treasures

While the “The Great Shipwrecks of New York’s Great Lakes" was on display from early February through late April 2017 at Plattsburgh City Hall, New York Sea Grant's Dave White and Lake Champlain Sea Grant's Mark Malchoff sat down with the region's Mountain Lake PBS station to talk about the display's featured historic shipwrecks and efforts to preserve them and nearby underwater sanctuaries and preserves. The pair also discuss other Sea Grant projects to protect New York’s lakes, waterways and the fish therein from invasive species as well as the flow of micro-plastics.

More Information:

Lilac is the last steam-powered lighthouse tender in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Launched on May 26, 1933, she carried supplies to lighthouses and maintained buoys for the U.S. Lighthouse Service and then the U.S. Coast Guard until she was decommissioned in 1972.  Lilac is currently being restored as a unique vehicle for maritime education and community activities and is berthed at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 (N. Moore and West Streets) in New York City. More at www.lilacpreservationproject.org.

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College. 

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG produces a monthly e-newsletter, "NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog. Our program also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published 1-2 times a year.

New York Sea Grant Home *  The Great New York State Fair

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