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Great Lakes museum hosts commander

Shipwreck discovery events, holiday plans highlight 2016

Presentations by the top Coast Guard commander in the Great Lakes region and two programs about recent shipwreck discoveries in the lakes highlight the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ schedule of special events for 2016.

Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, will be the first featured speaker in a new “Leader of the Lakes” program that will focus on maritime leaders from throughout the Great Lakes region, according to a museum statement.

The new series will help the Great Lakes Historical Society “fulfill its mission to preserve and make known the important history of the Great Lakes,” said Christopher Gillcrist, the museum’s executive director. “As a woman in an influential position within a traditionally male-dominant industry, Rear Admiral Ryan is making history and doing it well.”

The admiral, a Bowling Green State University graduate, was promoted last June to her position in charge of all Coast Guard operations in the Great Lakes, connecting waterways, and the portion of the St. Lawrence River bordered by New York state.

She will speak May 18 before an invited group of several hundred Toledo sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, then appear at a fund-raising luncheon at the Toledo Club.

Tickets for the luncheon will cost $50, with a $5 discount for museum members. Sponsor tables will be offered for $800 each. Reservations may be made by calling the museum at 419-214-5000.

Already enrolled in the Army ROTC program at BGSU, the then-June McIntee enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve in 1982 and was accepted to Officer Candidate School following her 1984 college graduation.

She received her officer’s commission in 1985 and has held numerous assignments since then, including a mid-1990s stint as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, based in Cleveland, and a tour as the military aide to the president. She most recently was the Coast Guard’s Pacific area chief of staff.

The “Leader of the Lakes” programs will be distinct from the museum’s existing lecture series, for which six speakers are planned during the course of the year.

The first of those is Joel Stone, senior curator for the Detroit Historical Society, who will speak April 13 on “Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes: A History of Passenger Steamships on the Inland Seas.”

The museum also will again offer an underwater archaeology workshop that teaches the basics of surveying shipwrecks. The three-day class will start with classroom work and “dry run practicals” on April 9-10, followed by in-water practice on either of two days in May.

New this year, however, will be “Wreck-a-Palooza,” a two-part, shipwreck-centered lecture series April 30 and Oct. 8. The spring program will include Tom Kowalczk, who discovered the sunken petroleum barge Argo in Lake Erie last summer, and Jim Kennard, who has several recent discoveries in Lake Ontario.

The museum will expand its Capt. Scupper’s Kid’s Klub program to provide special children’s activities on four summer Saturdays, all included as part of general museum admission. The Boo on the Boat event Oct. 29 also will be part of that day’s general admission, while the Christmas Tree Ship re-enactment on Thanksgiving Saturday will be free to the public.

The museum also is planning a Jet Express ferry trip to the Lake Erie Islands in late May; an overnight trip to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in late June for Engineer’s Day at the Soo Locks; a maritime-themed day trip to the Marblehead Peninsula in early August, and a Detroit River tour in late September aboard the sightseeing boat Diamond Belle.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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