The H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego is celebrating its 40th year in 2022; both reflecting on the past and sailing into the future. The Maritime Museum has been serving Central New York since 1982 as the only maritime-themed museum on the American shores of Lake Ontario. The organizational foundation was laid by Rosemary Nesbitt, acting under the auspices of the Port of Oswego Authority, who acquire space in the old 1920s grain elevator administration building on Oswego’s W 1st ST Pier. While the 1,000,000-bushel elevator is long gone, Nesbitt’s impact on the greater maritime community is larger than words can express. Her sustained efforts to ensure our history, heritage, and culture are shared with future generations lives on today, stronger than ever.
The Maritime Museum’s namesake, Harris Lee White (or H. Lee), was born in 1912. White attended Hamilton College and Cornell University and became a lawyer prior to entering the U.S. Navy during WWII. Achieving the rank of Commander by the end of the war, he then returned to his law career while also entering the shipping industry. By the time of his early death in 1969, H. Lee White was at the head of the second largest fleet of commercial cargo vessels in the world. His brother William White, a founding benefactor of the organization, solidified his legacy by backing the organization at its early stages.
Having grown from just a few display rooms into a full-service center for maritime preservation and education, the near future looks more prosperous than ever. A new facility, completion of the Schooner Ontario, an enhanced educational curriculum, and greater accessibility to our mission are all currently in the making, and we couldn’t be more excited to share all of that with you, our dedicated supporters, visitors, and friends. Stay tuned for all our upcoming programs, events, and offerings in 2022. There’s something for everyone at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum!