Antique Boat Museum opens for another captivating season

·3 min read

May 6—CLAYTON — With features that include two new exhibits debuting this year, the Antique Boat Museum opens for the 2023 season today.

The facility, North America's premier freshwater boating museum, containing a collection of more than 300 antique and classic boats and thousands of recreational boating artifacts, will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Oct. 9.

After that, the museum, 750 Mary St., will be open weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Oct. 29. The museum store also opens today. Admission is not required to shop there.

"Ride the River" boat rides will begin Memorial Day weekend, providing visitors with the opportunity to take a 45-minute ride through the Thousand Islands in the ABM's triple cockpit runabout. "Ride the River" bookings are highly encouraged to be made prior to the day of visitation due to limited seating for each ride time.

Guided walking tours of the historic houseboat, La Duchesse, will also begin Memorial Day weekend and require sign-up at admissions.

Skiff rowing will be available to visitors starting in June. The free community sailing and rowing program will run in July and August. Detailed listings of ABM special events and courses are available at

The two new exhibits at the museum this year:

—"The St. Lawrence Skiff: Our Indigenous Watercraft," in the Miller S. and Adelaide S. Gaffney Gallery, part of the Small Craft Building.

—"Outboards! The Motor that Changed Pleasure Boating," on the mezzanine of the Cleveland E. Dodge Memorial Launch Building.

The "St. Lawrence Skiff" exhibit explores the St. Lawrence skiff and its many variants while visitors to "Outboards!" can take a deeper dive into outboard motors through audio and video footage. "St. Lawrence Skiff" is made possible through a gift of the Miller S. and Adelaide S. Gaffney Foundation. Outboard expert Peter Hunn co-curated "Outboards!" with ABM's curator/collections manager Matt Macvittie.

For this year, ABM visitors continue to have a choice of four admission packages: general admission; tour of La Duchesse and general admission; Ride the River and general admission and Ride the River, tour of La Duchesse and general admission. Complete package pricing is available on the museum website, Discount admission is available for senior citizens, youth and children, families of four, and for all holders of a valid military ID: active duty, retired, reserve and dependent.


May 20: Volunteer welcome back brunch catered by Clipper Inn; RSVP required.

May 26: "Outboards!" exhibit opening reception, free.

June 3: 1000 Islands Family Free Day — Free admission for everyone.

June 3-9: Steamboats visit the ABM.

June 24: 1000 Islands Concours d'Elegance, celebrating the golden age of sports cars.

July 14: Members' annual meeting & La Duchesse's 120th birthday party.

Aug. 4-6: 59th Annual Antique Boat Show & Auction, featuring Old Town, Correct Craft, & Herreshoff.


May 15-Oct. 19: Boat America USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety course; See website for specific dates.

May 25: Tool sharpening.

June 9-11: ABM and Antique Classic Boat Society symposium

July 13 and 15: Lines taking.

July 20 and 22: Lofting.

June 26 to Aug. 16: Sailing — see website for specific dates.

June 27: Tuesday night free community sailing and rowing begins.

June 27 and 29: Mold making.

June 28: River Rat day 1 — "Something Fishy."

June 29-30: "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs," free.

July 11 & 13: Hand plane making.

July 14: River Rat day 2 — Flora and fauna of the St. Lawrence.

July 24-28: Youth architecture & design camp with Syracuse University School of Interior Design.

July 27: River Rat day 3 — Bird Adventures-Merganser Madness.

Aug. 15 & 17: Spar building for small craft.

Aug. 16: 2nd Annual Sail for a Slice with the Clayton Yacht Club.

Aug. 26: Family birdhouse building.

Aug. 27 & 28: Half hull making.

Sept. 25-29: Bronze casting with master metalsmith Michael Saari.