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Rock the Boat

June 19 @ 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Join us at the Erie Canal Museum for a free, all-day event in the museum garden with historic interpreter Dennis Heaphy!  In addition to repairing the boat Nathan Roberts, Mr. Heaphy will give an interactive performance at the top of each hour.  Along with live music and food from Ali Baba’s “Gyros & Tacos,” guests can enjoy free tours of the museum, offered every hour, and free walking tours.

10:00 AM, 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM – Downtown Syracuse Erie Canal Walking Tour – FREE

This tour follows the path of the 19th century Erie Canal, a man-made waterway that fueled the economic and social development of New York State and the country. The tour begins at the Erie Canal Museum, takes participants through Clinton and Hanover Squares, and ends back at the Museum. Examine how the waterway shaped this Upstate New York community, and discover how the neighborhood has changed since the days when the Canal ran right through the heart of the city. Meet outside the Museum’s entrance.


10:00 AM – Guided tour of the Erie Canal Museum – FREE

Experience 200 years of Erie Canal history on this guided tour of the Museum, including a full-size replica canal boat, the history of Erie Canal commerce and communities,  and the 1850 National Register Weighlock Building. Meet in the Museum’s Lobby.


10:30 AM – Behind the Scenes Tour – $20/person, reservations required as space is very limited

Experience first hand rarely seen artifacts from the Erie Canal Museum’s collections as guides lead you on an exclusive tour of the Weighlock Building and the Museum’s collections storage building. Spaces for this one of a kind tour are extremely limited due to space restrictions in the collections building so click here to book now! Meet in the Museum’s lobby.


12:00 – Pathways of Resistance Walking Tour – FREE

This tour examines the African-American experience on and along the banks of the Erie Canal, from its beginnings to the present day. While the legacies of slavery and systemic racism can be difficult to confront, it is crucial for these issues to be be addressed and to understand how they continue to impact our society today. The Pathway of Resistance tour begins at the corner of Montgomery Street and Erie Boulevard in downtown Syracuse. This is just outside the Museum garden.


Historical reenactment by Dennis Heaphy at the Erie Canal Museum.

Dennis Heaphy on the rear deck of one of the Museum’s replica canal boats.

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM -3:00 PM – Historic Reenactments by Dennis Heaphy

While repairing the deck of the Nathan Roberts, a replica canal boat in the Museum’s Locktender’s Garden, Heaphy will interact with visitors, telling stories about life on the Canal, in costume and in character as his great-great-grandfather Thomas Heaphy, who arrived in Syracuse on a canal boat in 1848.


12:00-2:00 – Live music

Harmonic Dirt will be performing their original Americana music outside near the Museum’s Locktender’s Garden. “Harmonic Dirt’s debut album (Anthracite) has an Alt-Folk sensibility highlighted by forthright vocals, complimentary harmonies, unpretentious well-crafted lyrics and simply effective and adroit instrumentation.” – Dave Frisina, Program Director, WXTL-Rebel Radio

Funded in full through the generous support of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

The Erie Canal Museum is partially supported by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


June 19
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
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Erie Canal Museum


Erie Canal Museum
318 Erie Blvd E
Syracuse, NY 13202 United States
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(315) 471-0593