Award Winners

Past Award Winners

2015 2016 2017
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2002 2003 2004

2017 Awards Program

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation


For almost 30 years, Valerie van Heest has been involved in increasing public understanding of Great Lakes maritime history through her involvement in shipwreck exploration, and her many books, documentaries and presentations.

Since 1988, van Heest has led or been involved in documentation and survey projects on almost 40 different wreck sites. She has also authored or co-authored several books based on those projects, including Unsolved Mysteries: The Shipwreck Thomas Hume; and Buckets and Belts: Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloader based on the wreck site of the freighter Hennepin.

Over the years, van Heest has been involved in the production of several video documentaries on Great Lakes shipwreck sites, including “Planes Trains and Ships – The Discovery of the Ann Arbor No. 5”; “She Died a Hard Death – The Sinking of Hennepin” and “The Discovery of the Shipwreck H.C. Akeley.” Over the years, van Heest has also made many public presentations around the region, and the results of her research have appeared in numerous print publications and news media outlets.

And, as a founding member of both the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago and Michigan Shipwreck Research Association, van Heest has been a leader in the type of volunteer groups that play major role in the discovery and documentation of historic Great Lakes vessels.

C. Patrick Labadie Award for Historic Preservation

Since its formation in 2000, Jeff Gray has served as superintendent of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary based in Alpena, Mich. During his tenure as superintendent, the sanctuary has successfully managed the preservation of over 90 Great Lakes shipwreck sites while at the same time increasing public access to and awareness of those wrecks and their history.

Thunder Bay has also become a leader in the use of technology to discover, explore and document shipwrecks. From an involvement in the early uses of side scan sonar and remotely operated vehicles, the sanctuary has expanded its efforts in recent years to include the use of advanced technologies such as multi-beam sonar and autonomous underwater vehicles. This focus on cutting edge technology has enabled researchers to make a number of historically-significant discoveries within the sanctuary boundaries, including the deep-water Lake Huron wreck sites of the wooden freighter Ohio and steel-hulled steamer Choctaw earlier this year. Both of those wrecks lie in over 200 feet of water.

Under Gray’s leadership, Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary has also pioneered the creation of large-scale photo-mosaics of Great Lakes shipwreck sites for use by both maritime historians and in educational programs for the general public. And much of the success of the sanctuary’s research and educational programs has been the direct result Gray’s ongoing efforts to promote private/public partnerships with both educational institutions and private technology companies.

The President’s Award

This year’s recipient, Robert (Bob) O’Donnell, has certainly contributed significantly to the Association for many years. He typically shouldered many roles on behalf of the Association. Eventually we decided we needed to find additional help for his many duties—-a process that has literally taken years.

Among the many things he has done for the Association, membership, all aspects of the annual conference (including single handedly rescuing several conferences at the last minute including a particular one in Muskegon where we met in the hold of an LST). He also created, edited, published, and coordinated printing and mailing of our former print newsletter and museum updates. In addition he handled the website and facebook page at one point or another, co-ordinated the award program and even has managed to present several programs and moderate several of our roundtables.

2016 Awards Program

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

For over 40 years, Lee Murdock has helped preserve the unique maritime heritage of the Great Lakes through the performance of both traditional and original songs that give us a better understanding of the region’s mariners, both past and present.

Murdock both performs traditional songs and has written new songs that help people better understand the hard work and hard living that was the lot of Great Lakes sailors, both past and present. His music is grounded in the work song tradition from the rugged days of lumberjacks and wooden sailing schooners.

C. Patrick Labadie Award for Historic Preservation

For almost 50 years, David Trotter has pursued a passion for Great Lakes shipwreck discovery and
exploration. Among his discoveries were the wreck sites of the bulk freighter Daniel J. Morrell, and the steamer Goliath designed by John Ericsson in 1846, fifteen years before he designed the ironclad
Monitor of Civil War fame.

Trotter’s work has both provided invaluable historical information for researchers and historians, and helped preserve the unique national treasures that are the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes. He has also published numerous articles on his discoveries in both historical journals and diving publications.

The President’s Award

The Association was honored to present its 2016 President’s Award to Bob Graham of the Historical Collections
of the Great Lakes at Bowling Green State University. From its founding meeting in 1984, Graham has provided countless years of leadership to the Association and holds the distinction of having been the longest serving president in our history. He was also among the first to become involved in our early efforts to encourage institutions to cooperate rather than compete in the collection of research and archival material.

2015 Awards Program

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

For over 40 years, James Kennard has been discovering and exploring Great Lakes shipwrecks. Over those years, Kennard, his long-time research partner Jim Scoville, and various teams of volunteers Jim has brought together have discovered more than 200 wreck sites in the waters of the Great Lakes and surrounding region.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

For more than 20 years, Wayne Lusardi has pursued his passion for maritime archaeology. Since 2002, he has had the opportunity and challenge of serving both as Michigan’s State Maritime Archaeologist and a member of the staff of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The President’s Award

The inaugural winner of the award is Henry N. Barkhausen who
has provided countless hours of service and leadership to the Association since its founding in 1984. Henry was among the first to recognize the importance of a group, such as this that is, focused on preserving and interpreting the unique maritime history of the Great Lakes.

As a direct result of his active participation and support over the years, we now sponsor an annual maritime history conference, encourage new research by both professional and avocational historians, financially support the publication of new research results, and promote the regular exchange of news and information among Association members.

2014 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Walter Lewis of Grafton, Ont. for a paper entitled “From Sail to Steam on the Great Lakes during the 19th century.” His paper is both an overview of previous historical research and a statistical analysis of original vessel data and records that provides new insight in the region’s relatively unique transition from sailing ships to steam-powered vessels during a 60-year period beginning in 1817. Unlike the relatively rapid transition to steam power in ocean commerce and other inland waterways, Lewis notes in his paper that “on the Great Lakes, the transition from sail to steam remained roughly in balance for over half a century” and “the deployment of steam and sail in consort persisted through the end of the century, especially into ports and through locks that could not accommodate the great iron and steel bulk freighters that would once again change the face of the Lakes fleets beginning in the 1880s.”

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

E.B. “Skip” Gillham has shown a dedication to researching Great Lakes maritime history for over four decades. Gillham’s first came to many people’s notice in 1970, when he succeeded the late Capt. Geoffrey Hawthorn as author of the popular “Ships that Ply the Lakes” column in the St. Catharines Standard. The following year, he wrote Ships Along the Seaway, the first of the more than 60 books on Great Lakes vessels and fleets he has authored or co-authored since then.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

For over 40 years, Ken Cassavoy has been a leader in the archaeological study of the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes. Beginning in 2001, Cassavoy led a team of volunteers that excavated the remains of what was later determined to be the War of 1812 brig H.M.S. General Hunter on a Lake Huron beach. Over a ten-year period, the team recovered a treasure trove of artifacts and helped create a major exhibit at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre in Southampton, Ont.

2013 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Patrick McBriarty of Chicago, Ill. for a paper based on his forthcoming book, Chicago River Bridges which looks at the untold story of the development of Chicago’s iconic bridges, from the first wood footbridge built by a tavern owner in 1832 to the marvels of steel, concrete, and machinery of today. Those structures would not have existed if it were not for the importance of Great Lakes shipping to the development of the city. Over the past seven years, McBriarty has conducted intensive research into the story of its bridges, and made extensive use of original source material on the maritime history and traditions of Chicago.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Tamara Thomsen is one of the region’s most skilled technical divers with special expertise in using underwater still and video photography to document deep water wreck sites. Working with the Wisconsin Historical Society, Thomsen’s work has resulted in 26 Great Lakes shipwrecks being added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Lee Radzak has served as the manager of the Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site since 1982. Because of its cliff-top location, maintaining the light station’s many historic buildings has been a continual challenge. To meet that challenge, Radzak has managed three major restoration projects at the historic site while continuing to keep it open to over 120,000 visitors per year.

2012 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Joseph D. Calnan, a teacher and boat builder from Kingston, Ont., is the first two-time winner of the Barkhausen Award for a paper entitled “The Pilot of La Salle’s Griffon” based on new research into 17th century French source materials. Trained in England, Calnan began his boat building career in a French-speaking yard in Nova Scotia. In between boatbuilding jobs, he has earned college degrees in English, native studies and experiential education.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

During a career of almost 30 years, marine artist Peter Rindlisbacher has become known as one of the finest maritime artists in the Great Lakes region particularly for documenting and interpreting the naval history of the region during late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

John Polacsek, retired curator of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, who has lead the Association’s multi-year effort to preserve and digitize a unique collection of early 19th century source materials from the Mackinac Custom House Collection of the Detroit Library.

2011 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Walter Lewis, author and editor of the Maritime History of the Great Lakes web site, for a paper entitled “John Mosier and the Niagara: Joint Stock Associations and the Transition from Sail to Steam.” The paper is an account of the career of Capt. John Mosier, his role in the transition from sail to steam on the Great Lakes following the War of 1812, and how groups of investors, known as joint stock associations, were used to finance the construction of steamships on the Great Lakes during the early 19th century.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Maurice Smith, long-time executive director and now curator emeritus of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Ont. which has one of the largest integrated maritime history collections in Canada.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Steve Brisson, deputy director of the Mackinac State Historic Parks, a unique collection of living history museums and historic sites, at one of the true crossroads of Great Lakes maritime history.

2010 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Michael Moir, an archivist at the York University Libraries in Toronto, for a paper entitled “Harbour Commissioners, Civil Engineers, and the Large-Scale Manipulation of Nature on Toronto’s Waterfront, 1883-1912.”

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Kenneth Pott, executive director of The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph, Mich.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Ken Merryman, one of the founders of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society

2009 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

LeeAnne Gordon of Harbor Creek, Pa. for a paper entitled “History of the Schooners Newash and Tecumseth” which examined the history of two schooners built for the British Navy on the Great Lakes in 1815.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Ric Mixter, maritime history author and video producer, of Saginaw, Mich.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Paul LaMarre III, manager of maritime affairs for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and manager of the museum ship Willis B. Boyer

2008 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

John E. Ratcliffe for a paper entitled “The Mowat Boat and the Development of Small Watercraft on the Great Lakes” which examined the history of double-ended, clinker-built boat constructed by an Ontario fisherman in 1910 and was donated to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Ont.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Brendon Baillod, maritime history research and author, and president of the Wisconsin Underwater Archeology Association

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Joyce Hayward, long-time head of the Association’s Diver Committee and founder of the Ohio chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks

2007 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Dr. William Lafferty for a paper that examined the historical record to support the claim that the freighter Hennepin was the first self-unloading vessel on the Great Lakes. Lafferty is a member of Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates which located the freighter’s deep water wreck site in Lake Michigan in 2006.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Nancy Schneider, long-time editor of Inland Seas, the quarterly journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Capt. Walter Rybka, senior captain of the U.S. Brig Niagara and administrator of the Erie Maritime Museum in Erie, Pa.

2006 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Thomas J. Lutz for a paper entitled “James Sears Dunham and His Gallant Fight for the Chicago River: A Brief History of Chicago’s Forgotten Maritime Man” which looked at the life and times of a leader of Chicago’s maritime industry in the second half of the 19th century.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Frederick Stonehouse, maritime historian and author of over 25 books on Great Lakes maritime history.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Dr. Charles E. Feltner, one of the founding members of the Detour Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society<

2005 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Art Chavez for a paper that was detailed examination of the history and technology of the car ferry sea gate, a safety device designed to keep water from flooding into the stern of Lake Michigan railroad car ferries which operated with open sterns from the mid-18th until the tragic loss of the ferry Pere Marquette #18 in 1910.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

C. Patrick Labadie, long-time director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Canal Park Museum, and now a researcher and historian for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Henry Barkhausen, maritime historian and author, who published his first book on Great Lakes maritime history in 1948, and was a founding member of the Association.

2004 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Kathleen Warnes, a graduate student at the University of Toledo, for a paper on the life and work of Increase Lapham, a research scientist and advocate for marine safety on the Great Lakes during the 19th century.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

Ted Friedlander, a major driving force in the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society and the creation of it’s the Age of Sail on the Great Lakes 1678-1911 database

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Holly Holcombe, director of the Steamship William G. Mather Museum in Cleveland, and founding member of the Harbor Heritage Society.

2003 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Kimberly E. Monk for a paper entitled “From Prince to Pauper: Portrait of the Welland Canal Ship Sligo” which traces the long and varied career of a canal schooner from its 1860 construction at a shipyard in St. Catharines, Ont. to its loss off Toronto in 1918.

Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation

John Burke, a trustee emeritus of the Great Lakes Historical Society who has been involved in the Society’s work for over 30 years.

Association Award for Historic Preservation

Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and a leader in the efforts to preserve and restore the St. Helena Lighthouse.

2002 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Joseph D. Calnan, a teacher and boat builder from Kingston, Ont. for a paper on Moise Hillaret, the 17th century shipwright for the famed French explorer LaSalle based on original French documents of the period.

2001 Awards Program

Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Art Amos and Dan Lindsay for paper entitled “The Discovery of the Schooner St. James” which documents the archaeological and research work over many years to identify the remains of a schooner that was lost in Lake Erie in 1870.

 

The Association for Great Lakes Maritime History is an organization of institutions and individuals from throughout Canada and the U.S. involved in preserving and interpreting the unique maritime history of the Great Lakes region.