A marvelous and necessary resource… preserving Chicago’s maritime heritage

Since 1982, the Chicago Maritime Museum has collected items that commemorate Chicago’s maritime history.  More than 6,000 items have accumulated, including watercraft, models, articles, books, displays, art, images and artifacts.   Seldom does a week pass without an addition to the collection that contributes to understanding Chicago’s maritime history.  The collection makes historic materials accessible to scholars or anyone seeking to understand Chicago’s unique historical connections.

What other institution would seek out, accept and preserve anchors weighing tons, early Native American watercraft, life-saving rescue craft, or images of early schooners?  Chicago’s maritime context is so essential, so much a part of what we are as a city.  There is an obvious urgent need to salvage as much evidence of Chicago’s maritime history as possible and, without a central repository, items and records would be lost with the passing of each generation.

That such a collection has been accomplished largely by a volunteer organization with private funding provides a further sense of achievement.

From the collection

We value your contribution

If you’d like to contribute to our collection, please let us know.


Enter characters in image above.