Awards Program

Through its Awards Programs, the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History seeks to encourage excellence in Great Lakes maritime history research, preservation and interpretation. The Association currently sponsors three awards which are presented during a dinner held in conjunction with its Annual Maritime History Conference in September. Award winners are encouraged to attend the dinner and Annual Conference, and the Association provides lodging for the winners and a guest as part of the award prizes.

The Henry N. Barkhausen Award for Original Research in Great Lakes Maritime History
– named for a founding member of the Association (see photograph on left), this award recognizes new research in the field of Great Lakes maritime history by both professional and avocational historians. Click here for paper submission and judging guidelines.

The Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation
– name for a long-time member of the Association, this annual award is presented to an individual who has made a major contribution, over many years, to the interpretation of Great Lakes maritime history, in furtherance of the goals of the Association.
Click here for more details.

The Association for Great Lakes Maritime History Association Award for Historic Preservation
– this annual award is presented to an individual who has made a major contribution, over many years, to the preservation of Great Lakes maritime history, in furtherance of the goals of the Association.
Click here for more details.

Past Award Winners


Henry N. Barkhausen Award

Joyce S. Hayward Award
for Historic Interpretation

Association Award
for Historic Preservation


No Award This Year

James Kennard of Fairport, New York has been discovering and exploring Great Lakes shipwrecks for over 40 years. Over those years, he has been involved in identifying more than 200 wreck sites.

One of the highlights of Kennard’s exploration work was the 2008 discovery of the deep water wreck of the H.M.S. Ontario, one of the oldest warship wrecks discovered on the Great Lakes. Near the end of the American Revolution, the ship was lost on Lake Ontario with all hands, including 30 American prisoners of war, during a storm in the fall of 1780.

Wayne Lusardi of Alpena, Mich. has pursued his passion for maritime archaeology for more than 20 years. Since 2002, he has served both as Michigan’s State Maritime Archaeologist and a member of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary staff. As part of that staff, Lusardi is responsible for research, documentation, preservation, and management for more than 100 Lake Huron shipwrecks. He also plays a key role in preserving the hundreds of shipwreck artifacts found in the state’s collection, many of which are housed at the sanctuary’s Great Lakes Heritage Center.


Walter Lewis of a 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.”

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.

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.



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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.”

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

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


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.

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

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


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.

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

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


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.

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

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


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.

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

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


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.

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

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.


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.

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

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


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.

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

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


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.



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.





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