The World’s Only Museum Dedicated to Cardboard Boats Is in New Richmond

Seaworthy or not, these vessels have raced along the Ohio River in New Richmond for nearly 30 years.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

What happens when you give four guys with a passion for building and racing cardboard boats the keys to a dilapidated gas station in New Richmond, Ohio? They open the world’s only known Cardboard Boat Museum, of course. Brothers Tommy and Ed (who is now deceased) Lemon and buddies Tim Young and Kenny Smith opened the museum in 2007 to display boats for New Richmond’s annual cardboard boat regatta, which has been held every August since 1993, but was canceled this year due to COVID-19.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Participants race homemade boats built from cardboard, paint, and tape 200 yards down the Ohio River. “There’s a race where the fastest boat wins, but there’s also a race to see if you can make it to the finish line,” says Tommy, who has raced in the regatta since 2000 and now helps host the event. The museum awards 29 canoe paddle–shaped trophies, including The Titanic for the boat displaying the most dramatic sinking. Last year’s big sinker was a comical 8-foot-tall toilet-shaped boat. The museum, which runs solely on donations and volunteer hours, offers tours and boat-building tips to visitors year-round on Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesday evenings.

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