Contact : Chuck Johnson

Museum Educator | PHMC Site Volunteer Coordinator

I Presque Isle Lighthouse with Keeper, 1
G-1 Detroit Cannon.jpg

Work - (814)452-2744 ext. 229

Cell - (607)483-8243


Museum Docent News

Welcome to the Erie Maritime Museum Volunteer Docent News Page. This is for museum volunteers only - it is not a public site. Please do not share content info, passwords or other information as this can pose a security risk which includes online meet ups.

Scuttlebutt - EMM Site News and Media

Guns Across the Lakes

The War of 1812 is often treated as a minor skirmish in world history; however, it was a pivotal event for almost every nation involved. For early Americans, it was a chance to solidify their independence and power as a new nation. Canadians view the conflict between the United States and Britain as a battle for their identity as Canadians. Indigenous peoples who fought in the War of 1812 on either side viewed it for a chance at protecting and preserving their ancestral lands, an endeavor that ultimately led to heartache and broken promises.

Guns Across the Lakes brings together historic sites and battlefields from two countries and three states to narrate the various aspects of the war waged on the Great Lakes from 1812 to 1815.

Subscribe to the official Guns Across the Lakes YouTube channel by clicking the link above and stay tuned as Educator Charles Johnson talks about Erie's connection to the War of 1812 later this Summer - Huzzah!

Little Mates, Ahoy!

The summer of 2020 certainly has been an interesting one. With everyone separated, the ships at anchor, and programs cancelled, we had to adapt on the fly. For the past ten weeks, 42 children from across the Northeast participated in our first ever free summer "camp" - Little Mates, Ahoy. Each week offered a different theme from "A Sailor's Life" to "Junior Curators". I am truly grateful for this experience and am thrilled that so many people got to try out our current/new programs from afar.

Setting Sail With New Programming!

Our field trip and outreach offerings have been given a "face lift" and will feature new programs and a brand new themed menu. The Erie Maritime Museum will be rolling out these new programs in the coming school year as well as in our virtual platforms. Take a look at our offerings!

Basic Tour

Every field trip - with time permitting, will include a basic tour of the museum and ships (when in port). This does not change. 

Battlestations will be the new way we sell our museum stations. These will be add-on experiences to go along with our tours. We will also begin developing outreach totes to go along with each of these. Choices include:
  • A Sailor's Seabag
  • Simple Machines
  • Maritime Archaeology
  • Sail Handling & Gun Drills
  • Knot Trying
  • Great Lakes Commerce


Immersion Programs

We will also be tailoring certain experiences for teachers who need something more specific. Currently, we will offering these options:
  • A Sailor's Life 
  • Learn the Ropes
  • Beneath the Waves: Maritime Archaeology
  • Celestial Navigation
  • Commerce on the Lakes
  • The Simple Machine

Sail to Steam Lecture Series

This summer, we partnered with our sister site, the Pennsylvania Military Museum to develop a lecture series known as "Sail to Steam". Our first webinar focused on the Quality of Life at Sea from 1812-1945. Our second episode in the series was geared toward the development of Warfare and Naval Doctrine during that time period. For those who missed it, check it out here!

Artifact of the Month

Rear Admiral Charles A. Curtze personally designed the sailing ship, THULE (built 1968-70 by Abeking & Rasmussen), in which he used this chronometer. A chronometer keeps accurate time at sea, despite motion, temperature changes, humidity variations or air pressure fluctuations. This chronometer was manufactured in Germany.

Rear Admiral Charles A. Curtze (1911-1997) was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and returned to live there after a life-long career in the U.S. Navy. He was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate (1933), and earned a Masters degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Naval construction. He served as the fleet Safety Officer on board the U.S.S. ST. LOUIS during the attack on Pearl Harbor, where he safely guided the ship out to sea. After the attack, he worked on emergency repairs for several other ships. He later served as Commander of the shipyards at San Francisco and Norfolk. His last naval duty assignment was as Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ships before he resigned in 1965. Curtze loved ship building, and in his retirement, wanted to be remembered as a pacifist at heart.

Docent Book Club

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World is a history of the world through the lens of the sea. While long, it is an amazing book that starts off with a description of cave art in Scandinavia. This piece of art is quite possibly the oldest artistic telling of humankind on the water. Travelling around the planet, stopping and telling the story of different cultures and periods on our planet's waterways. This book is highly recommended by this Maritime Historian!

Let's Get To Know Each Other!

Charles A. "Chuck" Johnson

Birthday: August 8

Where From: Elmira, New York / Lawrence, Massachusetts

Education: MA in Public History - Focus on Naval History

  • World War II Navy - Masters Thesis: "Gather 'Round the Geedunk: The Sailor's Experience on the South Dakota-Class Battleships"

Career Background/Curriculum Vitae:  

  • United States Navy - 2010 to Present

  • Battleship Cove - Director of Education and Volunteers - 2016-2018

  • Erie Maritime Museum - Museum Educator II - 2018-Present

Extra Curricular Interests: I am an avid cyclist, love reading and writing, and being a father and husband. Obviously, if you couldn't tell from the photo, I grew up playing soccer and watching my favorite team "Arsenal", Boston sports, F1, and so much more. Some other historical interests of mine are: Medieval Europe, Classical Greece, Scandinavian history and, of course, I am a Civil War junkie - particularly about Gunboats in the Western Campaign. 

Favorite Food: Tacos are the key to my heart...and pizza. Combine the two and you will be my best friend. 

Who would like to go next month? Send me an email!