The early arrival of the tugboat Theodore Too Tugboat at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes on the afternoon of June 16 kicked off an exhilarating week of tours, events and educational programs. Museum staff coordinated with the crew of Theodore Too and partner organizations, like Swim Drink Fish and Neptune & Salacia Diving, to offer programs and activities to over 1,500 attendees! Based on feedback given to staff and crew, the Theodore Too visit was a smashing success.
Theodore Too’s 2022 visit brought a special schedule of events for the Marine Museum. The objective this year was to use Theodore as an educational tool to connect youth and adults with the Great Lakes as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the USA. Programs and events were targeted at youth and adult residents, and visitors to Kingston. As part of the Museum’s ongoing mission to exhibit the natural heritage of the largest body of interconnected freshwater lakes in the world, staff delivered programs that touched on local environmental issues while complementing existing elementary school curricula. To mark their visit, each student was gifted with a Theodore Too Tugboat, Marine Museum Kingston 2022 red T-shirt. According to the Tugboat's owners, this marked the first occasion Theodore Too had been used in this way for educational purposes!
As part of the visit to the Marine Museum, Theodore Too was involved with PADI Aware Dive Against Debris Kingston 2022. This international initiative was hosted by the Museum alongside our partner organizations, Neptune & Salacia Diving and Swim Drink Fish. Together, alongside community volunteers, we helped to clean up the Kingston shoreline and to educate participants about the dangers of shoreline pollution. Organizers reported that together we were able to remove 803.7 kilograms (1772 pounds) of debris from the Gord Downie Memorial Pier on June 18!
Beyond school programs and community initiatives, Theodore Too’s visit gave the Museum a chance to introduce some new programs for younger visitors. The Museum's first Sing Along program with Theodore was offered to the public on the evening of June 22. Like the public deck tours, this registered event was well-attended, with all spaces booked. Local Kingston entertainers David Melhorn-Boe and Margaret Montcrieff delighted an audience that primarily consisted of pre-school children and parents with stories of the water and renditions of popular childhood songs like the Little Green Frog.
The crew of Theodore Too were welcome guests of honour at the Museum. Crew stated that the set-up of the week, with public visits bookending a week of scheduled school programs, as a credit to the Museum’s planning. In particular, one crew member stressed that everything felt cohesive, with an ideal flow to how a visit to the site during the program incorporated the historic structure as well as the Tugboat. Crew noted how compatible Theodore Too’s visit was with the Museum’s vision of studying, exhibiting and preserving the largest body of inter-connected freshwater in the world. Situating the programs within school curricula ensured that students felt that all elements were well-integrated, creating a cohesive and varied experience. Beyond the programs, the crew also felt like they were a part of the Museum fabric due to the hospitality of museum staff and volunteers alike, noting that their efforts were a credit to the Museum.
It is impossible to view the week-long visit of Theodore Too to the Museum as anything but a success. Staff and visitors alike came away with an amazing impression of the event, and we are so grateful to the crew of Theodore Too for helping the week go according to plan!
Programs and Collections Assistant