We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Good overview of local history”

H. Lee White Marine Museum
Ranked #4 of 22 things to do in Oswego
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Manlius, NY
Level Contributor
66 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Good overview of local history”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2014

This little treasure is well worth the time spent touring it and taking in the craft docked nearby. The museum is packed with good information on this historic Great Lakes harbor. It's never crowded, which is a shame as much time and thought have been put into the exhibits.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank kinnakeeto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

50 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Rochester, NY
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“History from a maritime perspective”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2014

We planned a day trip to Oswego (from Rochester - 75 miles) mainly to visit this museum as my husband is an avid sailor and likes to check out marinas, etc. wherever we travel. This museum provides a wonderful overview of the town, Lake Ontario, the canal and even world events - all with a maritime slant that makes the history interesting even for non-sailors. The displays are well designed and annotated, arranged in chronological order, and full of "unexpected goodies" like a vignette with an actual captain's bed and desk, original artwork mixed in with photos and artifacts, a Fresnel lens used in the lighthouse, newspaper articles - just an amazing variety! It is not particularly "hands on" so little ones may be bored and/or need to be restrained in the actual museum building but will no doubt find roaming around the two boats - a WW II tugboat and a canal barge - fascinating. I loved the Fun Facts sheets that popped up on the boats and exhibits.
Just across the canal from the museum is Fort Ontario. After a wonderful lunch at Port City Café and Bakery (less than 5 minute drive south on 1st St) we decided to check the fort out - a wise decision! You will gain an additional perspective of the vital role Oswego played in historical events like the War of 1812 as well as harboring refugees from Eastern Europe during WW II - the only place in the US to do so. There is actually a 3rd historical place to round out your Oswego experience - Safe Haven - located close to the fort, where most of the refugees were housed. We didn't get to visit Safe Haven but you could easily do all three places in one day, including having a leisurely lunch at one of the many great places to eat in town.
Highly recommend spending a day in Oswego and visiting these places - fun and educational.

Visited July 2014
Thank getawaygal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Potsdam, New York
Level Contributor
370 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
“For a slice of history on the Port City waterfront, stop here!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2014

The location and views are great to start, but the tethered tugs and educational exhibits are worth stopping in with family or couples to enjoy a bit of history and marine environs. They hosted the 1st Annual Ontario Lighthouse challenge and did a good job. This is a fun stop!

Visited June 2014
Thank mdkadk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oswego, New York
Level Contributor
37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“So wonderful, you'll want to JOIN their museum!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2013

After many, many years, I had to join the museum. IF you remember that this was nothing but a warehouse type building prior to the founder's interest in creating a museum dedicated to the maritime history of Oswego, you will be impressed. As a member, I get to go as often as I want in a year, and I DO! I also get a discount at the shoppe. But mostly, I get to take advantage of a lot of the wonderful activities such as the Canal Days weekend lectures. I get to visit the tall ships when they stop over in Oswego for a couple of days. And so many, many more things besides jus the displays.

For visitors who stop just for the displays, maybe a bit underwhelming when COMPARING to large city museums (with a lot more money). But considering how short a time this museum has been active, it has developed into one of the best small museums in the state! Maybe even the nation. And why you will want to go more than once a year!

Visited July 2013
Thank Booklady14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oneonta, New York
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Do not bother”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 August 2013

There is no underground railroad exhibit, very small and overpriced. The tour guide was not knowledgeful about the tugboat.

Visited July 2013
Thank J S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed H. Lee White Marine Museum also viewed


Been to H. Lee White Marine Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing