Every day is a bicentennial celebration this summer at the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum.
The popular Put-in-Bay site, known for its vast assortment of island area artifacts, is honoring Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s Battle of Lake Erie victory with several exclusive War of 1812 exhibits.
It’s one of several events planned on the island this year to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary.
Perry’s decisive battle, also known as the Battle of Put-in-Bay, secured American control of the lake for the remainder of the War of 1812.
It took place Sept. 10, 1813, and was one of the biggest naval battles of that time.
Many of the 1800s-era items to be featured this summer are one-of-a-kind, said Dan Savage, the historical society and museum’s director. Several were loaned from other museums and others from individual collectors, meaning they’ve never been publicly displayed before.
“Many of these are incredibly rare,” Savage said. “It’s great we were able to pull together for this. It’s been more than a year in the making.”
One of Savage’s favorites is a “fire bucket” used by Perry to extinguish small flames, a common item at the time. Another popular object is a blue ceramic platter displaying an artist’s rendition of a booming 1800s Sandusky shoreline, to signify the positive effects of Perry’s victory, he said.
Other new exhibits include artifacts from Perry’s now-destroyed ship, the Lawrence.
Museum newcomers needn’t fret. In addition to the new items, the museum’s classic displays of thousands of artifacts will remain on exhibit all summer long.
“We’re also celebrating the centennial celebration with many artifacts from that time,” Savage said. “For example, we have the original artist renderings of the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, which looks much different from the monument they actually built.”
To top off the memorial year, Lake Erie Islands Historical Society is also celebrating the museum’s 15th year at its current location.
The museum first opened in 1987 after a group of dedicated island residents vowed to turn a vision into reality. It opened at its current facility in 1998 after historical society members collected enough funds to construct the much-larger building.
The museum is open daily in the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall. Tours through the 6,000-square-foot facility are self-guided. Daily admission is $3 or less, but the historical society also offers membership passes, which include free museum admission.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum
WHERE: 25 Town Hall Place, Put-in-Bay
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day
COST: $3 adults and children, $2.50 seniors