MMM Lecture Series: WWII Boat Building in Holland

   Community Announcements | Posted on November 2, 2017

The Michigan Maritime Museum will be hosting speaker Geoffrey Reynolds from the Joint Archives of Holland to present his research on the fascinating boat building industry in Holland. His presentation: “On the Ways to Victory:  Building Boats for World War II in Holland, Michigan” will be held Wednesday, November 15th from 6:30pm-7:30pm at the Museum.

Holland, Michigan was home to many industries that converted from peacetime manufacturing to supplying the Allies during World War II. Local boat building companies leased space to other companies to build military vessels while others converted all of their production space to build boats that would help win the war. Chris-Craft Corporation's Holland plant built over 8,000 plywood landing craft, many of which were used for the D-Day landings in France. Other companies built pleasure craft used by relaxing service men when not fighting the enemy or supplied personnel to help other companies build wooden submarine chasers and steel tug boats. Local boat builders gained valuable experience during the war years that would later be used to compete and thrive in the years to follow.

Geoffrey D. Reynolds has been The Mary Riepma Ross Director of The Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College since July 2001. Previous to that, he served as the collections archivist from January 1997 to July 2001. He graduated from Wayne State University with a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) and an Archival Administration Certificate in 1995. He has worked at various times for Infoflo as a records management specialist, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, General Motors Media Archives, and Illitch Holdings on its Detroit Tiger baseball club archival materials. He currently serves as the treasurer of the Dutch-American Historical Commission, membership chairperson for the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies, and Executive Director of the Holland Area Historical Society. His research and writing interests include the American pleasure boat building industry and vintage boat racing history. His first and latest book, Boats Made in Holland: A Michigan Tradition, will be published in May 2018 by The History Press.
The Michigan Maritime Museum Lecture Series will run once a month November through April and will center around WWII maritime topics. The lectures will all be located at the Museum inside their newest WWII themed exhibit that opened last April.  “This is going to be one of our best lecture series. We’ve lined up some excellent presenters on a variety of fascinating topics focusing on the effect WWII had on our Great Lakes and Lake Michigan in particular” said Museum Director of Education and Administration Ashley Deming. “We’re very excited to host this series and showcase The Greatest Generation right here on the homefront.”

Admission is $8.  There is no admission fee for Museum members. Tickets will include admission to the Museum’s newest exhibit, Lake Michigan’s Call to Duty. For more information, contact the Museum at 269-637-8078 or visit