Inspiring an understanding of, and appreciation for the boating heritage of the fresh waterways of New Hampshire.
The heart of every museum is its collection. Our collection supports our mission to share the stories of boating and lake life culture of New Hampshire. The waterways of the Granite State have been a part of the economic backbone for hundreds of years. Now used more often for recreation, the major lakes and rivers were used for transportation of goods and people as well as a means of energy to power the thousands of small mills in towns and villages across the state nearly two-hundred years ago. During the age of industry in 19th century, the mills of Manchester, Claremont, Nashua, Berlin, and others, harnessed the tremendous power of New Hampshire’s largest rivers. With the mills long gone and the lakes and rivers cleaned up after years of industry, recreational use has taken over and drives the tourism industry.
Boats in our collection mainly reflect the age of recreation, from vintage canoes and kayaks to vintage wooden powerboats built by the likes of Chris Craft, Lyman, Penn Yan, and Goodhue & Hawkins, and more. The Museum is home to a large collection of outboard motors, inboard engines, along with artifacts from steamboats that used to ply the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. Waterskis, trophies, model boats, boating attire, fishing gear, vintage postcards, etc, are other artifacts that allow the Museum to tell more well-rounded stories of life on NH’s lakes and rivers.