The Erie Maritime Museum invites the public to attend the opening reception for a new exhibit, The Erie-Extension Canal: Gateway to the Great Lakes, on Sunday, January 27, 2013, from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the Museum West Wing Gallery. The exhibit and reception are open to the public free of charge on Sunday, after which the exhibit can be seen as part of regular Museum admission through June.
The Erie-Extension Canal, also known as the Erie & Beaver Canal, was the last section of a state-wide network of canals to be completed in the early 19th Century. When the first canal boats arrived in Erie on December 2, 1844, it marked the opening of an inland waterway that connected Lake Erie to Pittsburgh and the Ohio River, and from there to the Mississippi. The Canal facilitated the growth of Erie as a port city, moving raw materials, manufactured goods, and passengers through Erie Harbor, as well as spurring economic development and growth of towns along its tow paths.
The exhibit is made possible through the generous donation of Canal materials by Elizabeth Malc-Dwyer, whose former law office building was located over the bed of the Erie-Extension Canal on West Sixth Street. Her collection provides the core of the exhibit, which also includes images and artifacts from the Erie Maritime Museum’s own collection, as well as the Hazel Kibler Memorial Museum in Girard.