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August 27, 2012

Oswego Canal Festival Features U.S. Navy National Museum Exhibit

U.S. NAVY EXHIBIT ON DISPLAY NOW � The H. Lee White Marine Museum welcomes the traveling exhibit, "War of 1812: A Nation Forged By War," now through September 30. The display will be featured along with the Lois McClure during the Oswego Canal Festival over Labor Day weekend. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 1 through Monday, September 3 in Oswego's Historic Maritime District on West First Street Pier. Admission is free. For details, call the museum at 315-342-0480.

OSWEGO - The H. Lee White Marine Museum hosts a traveling mini-exhibit, "War of 1812: A Nation Forged By War," from the National Museum of the United States Navy. Now through Sunday, September 30, the exhibit is on display in New York State Canal Derrick Boat No. 8 on West First Street Pier in Oswego.

"We are very fortunate to be able to present this display highlighting our county's maritime history," said Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum. "Lake Ontario has played an integral role in U.S. and New York State history. It was significant during the War of 1812 as British and American forces battled for control of the lake and, by extension, the war."

The temporary exhibit illustrates the role that military forces from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Revenue Cutter Service played in securing European recognition of the U. S. as a truly independent nation. Visitors will learn the heroic stories of ocean and Great Lakes battles as well as those that took place on land from Louisiana to Canada. Each panel contains a QR code with more details for those with smart phones.

Niess added, "This is really great timing as we continue our bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 with the Lois McClure at the Oswego Canal Festival."

The Oswego Canal Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 1 through Monday, September 3 in Oswego's Historic Maritime District on West First Street Pier.

"We encourage the public to come out and enjoy the festivities," said Niess. "We'll have a parade of boats along the pier and people can take walk-aboard tours. We'll also have music, baked goods, crafts, games and more."

The Urger, a New York State Canal tug, will be in the Oswego Harbor from Wednesday, August 29 to Saturday, September 1. She will be available for free walk-aboard tours during regular museum hours.

Another highlight of the festival will be the Lois McClure, a full-scale replica 1860s canal schooner. The 88-foot boat depicts 19th century canal ships that both sailed on open water and moved people and goods through the canal systems.

"The Lois McClure is currently making the voyage with her tugboat, the C.L. Churchill to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812," said Niess. "Many ports on the tour either had forts that were significant to the War of 1812 or supplied naval ships to the American fleet during the war."

The Lois McClure will be open for free public tours during festival hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to a renowned line-up of visiting ships, visitors are invited to tour Oswego's distinguished home fleet. It includes a National Historic Landmark, the U.S. Army Tug LT-5; New York State Canal Derrick Boat No. 8; the Eleanor D; the Ontario, an 85-foot topsail schooner used by the Oswego Maritime Foundation as a floating classroom.

The event also features presentations by Dr. Gary Gibson, Oswego County Historian Justin White and SUNY Oswego graduate student Michael Pittavino. Museum guides will be available to discuss the canal system and Oswego's maritime history, and a display highlighting youth sailing, fishing, diving and more will be located in the Oswego Maritime Foundation Pavilion.

"The Oswego Canal played an important role in transporting people and products through the region and this event allows us the opportunity to highlight this history," said Rich Bush, president of the board of trustees for the H. Lee White Marine Museum.

The museum's annual "Tales of the Haunted Harbor" program will also take place over Labor Day weekend. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 1. In the event of inclement weather, call for museum at 315-342-3804 for a rain date. A separate admission will be charged.

The main sponsor of this year's festival is Wayne Drug Store. Additional sponsors that helped make this event possible are Oswego Elks Lodge #271, Mrs. Norma DeAmbra, and Stewart's Shops.

Further support is provided by the Pfund Family in memory of Captain Dick Pfund; Drs. Morgan, Humphrey and Stephens of Oswego Family Physicians; Drs. Dexter, Baker and Youngman of Harbor Eye Associates; Oswego Port Authority; the City of Oswego; The Picture Connection and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

Festival admission is free and the museum will offer reduced admission to visit the main building. For more information about the Oswego Canal Festival, call the H. Lee White Marine Museum at 315-342-0480, or find them online at their Web site www.hleewhitemarinemuseum or Facebook page.

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