Mike Smiles appointed new Executive Director at LCMM

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) announces appointment of Mike Smiles as new Executive Director

Mike Smiles appointed new Executive Director at LCMM

J. Michael “Mike” Smiles
new Executive Director at LCMM

The Board of Directors of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) announced the appointment of J. Michael “Mike” Smiles as the museum’s new Executive Director. Mike will assume the role from Erick Tichonuk, who is stepping down from the position. Mike begins the leadership role on January 5, 2015.


“Mike brings a breadth of experience that will broaden the Museum’s impact in reaching and serving diverse audiences through our collection of historic replica vessels, innovative education programs, hands-on rowing programs, publications, research, and permanent and traveling exhibits,. We’re delighted to have him join our team of highly dedicated staff, committed volunteers, and engaged members and donors as we begin our 30th year of operation.” ~ L.C.M.M. Board Chair Bob Beach

Smiles is a career non-profit professional, who comes to LCMM from the New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) in Stonington, CT. At NESS he served as Vice President and Director of Advancement for three years. NESS was named as the 2013 Outstanding Community Sailing Center in America by US Sailing, and offers education programs to more than 3,000 students annually at three locations. NESS also established one of the first AmeriCorps public school partnerships incorporating kayaking, marine science, and sailing to advance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining such an outstanding organization, especially given its inspiring and innovative mission of discovery and hands-on learning. I am proud to help lead the Museum as a center of excellence in nautical archaeology, boat building, and touring replica historic ships that bring history to life for thousands of people.” ~ J. Michael Smiles, new Executive Director at LCMM

A long-time summer resident of Essex, NY on Lake Champlain, Smiles is the former Director of Development at Mystic Seaport – the Museum of America and the Sea, and Chief Development Officer of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children founded by Paul Newman. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven and is a graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin. He and his wife, Martha, will be moving to Vermont from their home of 20 years in Noank, Connecticut.

Smiles will be part of an effort to raise awareness and continue expanding the Museum’s education programs, and secure its leadership in nautical archaeology and educational outreach and impact.

“Many members, donors, and partners are eager to support the Museum because they appreciate its innovative approach in bringing history to life through hands-on learning and self-discovery. Erick’s contribution to the Museum over the years has been immeasurable and I look forward to working with him in my new role as Executive Director to assure his depth of knowledge and passion for LCMM’s mission will best serve the Museum’s bright future.  In the meantime, I look forward to meeting LCMM’s many friends, members, and partner organizations as I embrace what I believe to be one of finest maritime museums in the country.”  Mike Smiles, new Executive Director at LCMM

About the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum:

Mike Smiles appointed new Executive Director at LCMM

Lois McClure and Philadelphia II docked at North Harbor, at LCMM Basin Harbor facility.
(Photo by Bob Hardy)

Through nautical exploration, an active fleet of historic replica vessels, boat-building programs for special needs students, and hands-on exhibits and learning adventures for all ages, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum brings to life the stories of Lake Champlain and its people. Its mission is to preserve and share the rich history of the Lake Champlain region with a broad audience through publications, research, exhibits and education programs. LCMM’s exhibit buildings and on-water programs are seasonal; archaeological research, collection management and education programs continue all year. More information can be found at  www.lcmm.org or call 802 475-2022.