The Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum opened for its tenth season as northeast Ohio's only floating maritime museum on Friday, May 5, 2000. Later in May, the Mather will mark the 75th anniversary of its launching with a yearlong celebration of special programs and events.
On Tuesday, May 23rd, the actual 75th Anniversary date, all former crewmembers and volunteers are invited to join the Mather's current "crew" onboard from noon to 5 PM for a reunion tour and program. A rededication ceremony at 2 PM will include a historic account of the Mather's launching in 1925. Former crewmembers and volunteers are requested to call (216) 574-9053 for reservations and information.
On Saturday, May 27, 2000, the historic Mather will be open to the public for touring and special family programming without charge. In addition to areas that have been popular spots to visit over the years, the newly restored Boat Deck and Captain's Quarters (restoration to be completed late summer 2000) will be open to the public. WCLV 95/5 FM will broadcast live
on-site from 11 AM - 6 PM, featuring maritime music (classical and folk), crew interviews, and historic vignettes recounting the Mather's 55-year career as a freighter flagship.
For the first time, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum will be open Wednesday evenings until 9 PM from May 24 through August 30. In addition to touring the Mather, the public is invited to attend the Museum's Wednesday evening heritage program series. The 15-program series will cover such wide-ranging topics as "Great Lakes Cuisine: Steamboat Menus and Recipes" to "Lake Erie Shipwrecks: A Diver's Perspective." Programs will begin at 7:30 PM and last approximately 45 minutes. Weather permitting, each Wednesday evening program will conclude with a spectacular view of Downtown Cleveland's nighttime skyline and a Lake Erie sunset!
All of the above celebratory programs are in addition to established Mather Museum programs, which include Whistle Pull (July 1 - 4), Air Show Deck Party (September 2 - 4), and Legends of the Lakes V (Friday and Saturday evenings, October 13 - 29).
The Steamship William G. Mather exemplifies Northeast Ohio's proud heritage as a major industrial and Great Lakes shipping center. The Mather is nicknamed "The Ship That Built Cleveland" since it has had a presence on Cleveland's waterfront for 75 years, first as a working ore freighter and now as a floating maritime museum. The 618-foot long Mather had an exemplary 55-year merchant marine career, and is the site of at least three Great Lakes industrial firsts: its single marine boiler system, installed in 1954; its computer-like, automated boiler system in 1964; and dual propeller bow thrusters also in 1964.
The Steamship William G. Mather arrived at its East Ninth Street Pier berth in 1990 and was the first "new attraction" to emerge on Cleveland's developing North Coast Harbor. Two and one-half years of intensive work in restoration and development preceded the Mather's arrival. In May 1991, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum opened and took its place as one of only four Great Lakes freighter museum ships in existence. To date, the Greater Cleveland community has invested more than 2.5 million dollars and 250,000 volunteer hours in "The Ship That Built Cleveland."
Museum Hours and Fees. In 2000, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum is open May 5 - October 29. During May, September, and October, the Museum is open Fridays and Saturdays (10 AM to 5 PM) and Sundays (Noon to 5 PM). The Museum is open daily Memorial Day through to September 1 (Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM; Sunday noon to 5 PM) with extended evening hours to 9 PM on Wednesdays from May 24 - August 30. On September 2, 3, and 4, only a portion of the Museum will be open for National Air Show viewing at neighboring Burke Lakefront Airport due to FAA restrictions (reservations required due to limited capacity). General Admission is $5/adult, $4/senior citizen, and $3/student (ages 5 to 18). Children under 5 years are free. Due to its historic nature, the Museum has limited accessibility.
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