Position: Director and Curator of History
Department: Museum of Cultural and Natural History / Museum Studies Program
Campus Address: Rowe 103
Phone: (989) 774–7165
Jay Martin is a 35 year veteran of historical endeavors and a specialist in maritime history with a focus on the impact that the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States have on the maritime world. He is a former Great Lakes merchant mariner and was trained in terrestrial archaeology, but since 1984 has pursued his interest in underwater archaeology and maritime history. He was a project-long member of the scow schooner
Rockaway excavation team, and therefore a participant in the first full scale underwater archaeological excavation of a shipwreck on the American side of the Great Lakes. Much of what is known about the
Rockaway, shipboard life, and certain aspects of maritime material culture comes from his ground breaking research. He has since worked on a variety of shipwreck, dock, lighthouse, and port sites, in the Great Lakes and on the Gulf Coast.
His interest in preserving finite underwater cultural resources led him to lobby for the federal Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1988 and its implementation nationwide. He was a gubernatorial appointee to the Ohio Submerged Lands Advisory Board, which oversaw implementation of the Ohio Shipwreck Act, legislation that he drafted, supported through legislative approval, and implementation. He was later an at-large member of the Wisconsin Submerged Cultural Resource Board and a key contributor to the founding of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the first federal marine sanctuary on the Great Lakes. He has provided litigation support and expert witnessing, most notably in the steamer
Atlantic case. He has held many leadership positions in professional organizations and has earned multiple awards for his efforts.
His career in museums, archives, and historic sites has included positions with the National Park Service and a variety of award-winning non-profits. He has restored multiple historic ships and structures and has served as the chief executive officer for several, including the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum (Madisonville, Louisiana), the American Victory Mariners Memorial and Museum Ship (Tampa, Florida), and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, Wisconsin), as well as teaching American and Public History at various institutions, including Southeastern Louisiana University, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Toledo.
In 2010 he joined the faculty at Central Michigan University in a joint appointment as Director of the CMU Museum of Cultural and Natural History/Gerald Poor School House Museum and Director of the Museum Studies Program. He is co-founder of and a primary advisor in the undergraduate Public History Major and the graduate Cultural Resource Management Masters / Certificate Program. He is Associate Professor of History and a frequent grant, donation, and contract administrator. To his classes he brings theory and method in archaeology, oral history, digital history, and museum and archival administration, as well as practical experience from his work as a historian, curator, archivist, underwater archaeologist, park ranger, expert witness, and chief operating officer to bring the world of Public History alive for CMU students.
Dr. Martin holds a bachelors in Public History from Western Michigan University (1984), a masters in American Studies (1988) and a Ph.D. in History (1995) from Bowling Green State University. He has over one hundred publications and creative endeavors, a select number of which are highlighted below.
General Henry Baxter, 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry: A Biography (McFarland, 2016). [ISBN-13: 978-1476663395; ISBN-10: 1476663394]
"Only the Shipyards will Gain: The Buffalo Hurricane of 1921 as a Demonstration of the "Combined Economic Power of American Commercial Carriers on the Great Lakes,"
Northern Mariner 15 (April 2015): 133-162.
"The Advocate's Devil: The Maritime Public Historian as Expert Witness,"
The Public Historian 37 (February 2015): 25-38.
"The Blanchard DeWitt Mill Project: Recommendations for Community Policy, Historic Interpretation, Economic Development, and Sustainable Reuse," January 2015.
"A Unique and Significant Heritage: A Phase I Cultural Resources Historical Survey of Wawatam Township, Emmet County, Michigan" Submitted to the Emmet County Commissioners, September 10, 2013.
"Strands that Stand: Using Wire Rope to Date Archaeological Sites."
International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 43 (Spring 2014): 151-161.
Seas and Waterways of the World: An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues (ABC-CLIO), 2009. J. Zumerchik and S. Danver, Editors. Authored entries for "Lake Pontchartrain" and "Great Lakes."
Tchefuncte River Lighthouse Restoration, Madisonville, Louisiana, 2007-2010.
Tchefuncte Marsh Conservation, Madisonville, Louisiana, 2007-2010.
Archaeological Investigations Along the Tchefuncte River and Lake Pontchartrain, 2008-2010.
"Going Deeper: The Role of Remote Operated Vehicles in Underwater Archaeology," Playful Learning, an EPA Funded Project in partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University,
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, Tulane University, St. Tammany Parish Public Schools, April 2, 2008 & August 29, 2008.
Restoration of the Historic
SS American Victory to Operation with Passengers, Tampa, Florida, 2002-2005.
"Beyond the Brow: Research and the Restoration of Historic Ships."
Nautical Research Journal (Spring 2004): 44-50.
Restoration of the National Historic Landmark submarine
USS Cobia (SS-245), Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 1997-2002.
"Wisconsin Shipbuilders: 150 Years," Wisconsin Maritime Museum, 1997-1998, a 2,500 square foot interpretive exhibit.
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, A Federal/State Partnership for the Management of Underwater Cultural Resources: Final Environmental Impact Statement/Management Plan. Washington: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1999, contributor.
Marlinspikes and Monkey's Fists: Traditional Arts and Knot-Tying Skills of Maritime Workers. LuAnne Gaykowski Kozma, With Janet C. Gilmore and Jay C. Martin. East Lansing: Michigan State University Museum, 1994.
Thunder Bay Region Inventory of Resources. Kenneth J. Vrana, editor. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan Sea Grant, 1993. Author of "A Brief Maritime History of Thunder Bay" and an inventory of underwater cultural resources in Thunder Bay.
Underwater Archaeology Proceedings from the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference. Sheli O. Smith, editor. Tucson, Arizona: Society for Historical Archaeology, 1993.
Author of paper entitled "The Vernacular Lakescape: The Changing Nature of Life Aboard Great Lakes Sailing Craft, 1815-1930," 23-27. Awarded best conference session.
Great Lakes Underwater Cultural Resources: Important Information for Shaping Our Future. Kenneth J. Vrana and Edward Mahoney, editors. East Lansing, Michigan: Department of Parks and Recreation, Michigan State University, 1993. Author of Preface entitled "Cooperative Resource Management on the Great Lakes: A Brief History of United States & Canadian Relationships," 1-4.
The American Ship Building Company and Predecessors, 1867-1920. Perrysburg, Ohio: Institute for Great Lakes Research, 1988. (published history and archival collection register)