August 9 - November 10, 2013

Perry's Victory: The Battle of Lake Erie

Surprise Success

Unlike the Revolutionary or Civil wars, the War of 1812 gained little traction in the popular imagination. But its significance wasn’t lost on Edward Hill, special projects assistant in the chief curator’s office. Hill organized the exhibition Perry’s Victory: The Battle of Lake Erie to mark the battle’s bicentennial—a key moment in the War of 1812—and to bring to light its significance to the Great Lakes region. “It had a major impact on our country as the ‘Second War of Independence,’ as the conflict that solidified American independence from the British,” Hill said. “But what many in the region don’t know is that one of its crucial battles played out right on Ohio’s Lake Erie coast.”

Perry’s Victory commemorated the September 10, 1813 battle, when a young commander named Oliver Hazard Perry captured a British fleet of six vessels, giving control of the lake and its important transportation routes to the United States. The paintings, prints, sculpture, artifacts, letters and music that reconstructed the conflict for twenty-first century audiences became a surprise hit, educating nearly 30,000 visitors on an important moment in local history.

This commercial promoting Perry’s Victory: The Battle of Lake Erie, created by ad agency Madhouse, was awarded a Silver Addy, the Toledo area’s second highest advertising honor.