Big changes are happening for a Toledo staple.
During their annual State of the Museum update, The National Museum of the Great Lakes announced that Kate Fineske will step up as the new Executive Director starting Jan. 1.
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“We’ve seen steady growth since opening our doors in Toledo nearly a decade ago and feel fortunate to have Kate Fineske’s leadership as we look towards our next decade of growth,” Paul Lamarre, Board Vice Chair and Port of Monroe Director, said. “When the museum’s longtime executive director Chris Gillcrist began conversations around his eventual retirement, there was not a doubt in our minds that Kate was the right individual to fill his shoes. The increased local visibility after the opening of Glass City Metroparks gave us confidence that the time was right to not just grow physically but also adjust our leadership in a way that will allow us to continue to grow our connections locally and across the Great Lakes region.”
The museum will also see a multi-million dollar expansion in the New Year, which will add 5,000 square feet to the museum. The project is expected to cost $5.5 million.
Currently, they have raised just over $4 million, with 75% of the funds coming from outside of Lucas County, Fineske said. They hope to break ground in the Spring of 2024.
The expansion comes at a necessary time for the museum.
“In 2022, we had our highest attendance at about 21,000 visitors. In 2023, we have surged past that number, we are at about 30,000 visitors and that’s just in one year, we’re excited for the growth,” Fineske told 13abc.
“Our visitors are up 46% since the opening of the Glass City MetroPark,” Fineske said. “I thought this would bring momentum, but I never envisioned as much, so suddenly. There’s nowhere to go but grow.”
The National Museum of the Great Lakes was founded in 1944 to educate and preserve the history of the Great Lakes. For more information, visit https://nmgl.org/.