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Erie Maritime Museum, Erie

4.4
#5 of 20 in Things to do in Erie
Erie Maritime Museum is a maritime museum located on Presque Isle Bay in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. It was the first new PHMC museum in twenty years when it opened its doors on May 21, 1998. It is the homeport of the US Brig Niagara, a modern recreation of the US Brig Niagara that fought in the Battle of Lake Erie.ExhibitsThe museum offers a wide range of multimedia and interactive exhibits coupled with lively interpretive programs that vividly illustrate the region's rich maritime heritage. When in homeport, the ship herself is the major "exhibit". Berthed within yards of the museum, Niagara is visible from the building's bay side picture window. Inside, the centerpiece exhibits of the museum are a former steam-powered electricity generating station and a reconstruction of the mid-ship section of the USS Lawrence. The replicated Lawrence, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's first flagship during the Battle of Lake Erie, comes complete with mast, spars and rigging to foster hands-on learning in the ways of sail handling.Another powerful display is the adjoining section of the Lawrence replica that has been blasted with live ammunition from the current Niagara's own carronades at the National Guard training facility in Fort Indiantown Gap, near Harrisburg. This unprecedented "live fire" exhibit of the Lawrence recreates the horrific carnage inflicted upon both ships and men during the Battle of Lake Erie and throughout the Age of Fighting Sail. Other exhibits tell the stories of the USS Wolverine (previously the USS Michigan), the nation's first iron-hulled warship, the environmental transformation of the Great Lakes ecosystem and much more.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
209 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • August 12, 2017
    Be sure to check the schedule to visit when the brig is in port. It was the highlight of our visit with interesting info provided by our guide.  more »
  • August 5, 2017
    Perry tromped the British in Lake Erie with a swift maneuver of the Niagara passing between British two gun ships with both sides of her guns blazing! And since the Niagara's captain was reluctant to ...  more »
  • July 30, 2017
    Visited the niagra when it was in Rochester,NY. There was a long line and all the ATMS within walking distance were broken so I asked the women working up front if they took cards. She said yes. We wa...  more »
Google
  • June 25, 2017
    'Don't Give Up The Ship' We toured this museum, we saw the interesting and well done replicas, we learned about the war of 1812 and much more. This museum is staffed with guides who know and share the history and interesting information...they give of themselves and their knowledge.
  • April 13, 2017
    Really enjoyed this museum - one of my favorites. You enter through the gift shop next to the library entrance. They are a Blue Star museum, meaning free entry for active military & family. Staff were all friendly, and guides were exceptionally knowledgeable and educational. An impressive number of displays for the size of the museum, yet not crowded. I've never learned so much so quickly at any other attraction. Their depth of knowledge is incredible for a museum about just one ship, the U.S. Brig Niagara. Best time of the year to visit is late spring through early fall. Will be back.
  • February 26, 2017
    This is a fun place to visit. Not all that much to the museum and kinda overpriced admission but what makes it worth it is the Brig Niagara. Awesome ship to see and tour. Especially if you can get there when they are "putting it back together" in the spring. I am glad that my daughter got to witness that.
  • February 18, 2017
    I'm only giving the Maritime Museum four stars because I feel the name is a bit misleading. All other "Maritime Museums" I've been too cover a much broader range of the local Maritime history while this one focuses very specifically on the Brig Niagara, the Battle of Lake Erie and to a lesser extent the USS Lawrence/Wolverine. There's almost no mention of Erie's commercial fishing industry, the Coast Guard station, the many yacht clubs, shipbuilding, nearby shipwrecks or the plethora of other rich and storied topics within our local maritime history. That being said, it is a very fun and interactive museum that covers every aspect of the Niagara and it's place in naval history that concludes in boarding the rebuilt Niagara, which is an amazing experience that I believe everyone in Erie should have at least once.
  • April 29, 2017
    Very cool museum, with the U.S.S. Niagra tall ship docked right there. Full size replicas of the sails, masts, and beams inside. Actual canons and artifacts from the war of 1812. Very knowledgeable guides and presentations.

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Where to stay in Erie

Lake resorts offering comfortable accommodations and access to the water stand along the shores. For more intimate lodgings, consider a bed and breakfast or inn in the town center, with easy access to the lake. Chain hotels are affordable and convenient, while nature lovers may enjoy the campgrounds on the outskirts of the city.
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