Hamilton Civic Museums

Hamilton & Scourge National Historic Site

Dundurn National Historic Site (including Dundurn Castle, The Hamilton Military Museum, and The Historic Kitchen Garden) and the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology  are open to the public. Battlefield House Museum & Park and Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum open to the public on September 30. All sites are offering modified programming and are accepting bookings for events. Bookings will be accommodated based on availability and in compliance with current Provincial social distancing and other COVID-19 related guidelines.

Whitehern Historic House & Garden and the Hamilton Children’s Museum remain closed to the public


The Hamilton and Scourge were initially named the Diana and the Lord Nelson respectively, before the War of 1812. They were not large specialized war vessels; instead, they were simple merchant ships that were pressed into service for the American Navy just prior to the War of 1812. 

Long before the sinking of the Titanic, the Hamilton and the Scourge, capsized in Lake Ontario in 1813. Today, these unique shipwrecks are the only complete 1812 warships in the world and rest under 300 feet of water. Using first-hand accounts and sonar technology, these wrecks have been found and investigated.

Visit the wrecks, learn about underwater archaeology, and step back in time to the War of 1812.

360° Virtual TourEnjoy a 360° virtual tour of the Hamilton & Scourge Warships

Watch the full series "The Greatest Lakes" a Jerry Muskrat Adventure at jerrymuskrat.com

Test your knowledge of Hamilton with our Hamilton Civic Museums’ Crossword

Event Listings

The City of Hamilton's Role

Legislation Protecting the Wrecks

The City of Hamilton Act, 1979, enabled the City to pass by-laws relating to all aspects of the study, raising, display and restoration of the Hamilton and Scourge as well as their artifacts.

Ownership was still with the United States Navy until 1978 when it was transferred to the City of Hamilton by Congress through the Royal Ontario Museum. The City of Hamilton stepped in and assumed title to the wrecks at that time largely due to the enthusiasm of the then Mayor John A. MacDonald and Alderman William M. McCulloch.