Touring the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum


As we made our way from Tahquamenon Falls to the city of Munising, where we would begin our backpacking trip of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, my friends and I decided to check out the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

Nestled in a quiet area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula along the coast Lake Superior, the museum features artifacts recovered from shipwrecks, a gift shop, a historic lighthouse keeper’s house, a scenic overlook, and a lighthouse tour.

One of the biggest reasons I’ve wanted to visit this museum for so long is because one of the artifacts on display is the original bell brought up from the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank November 10, 1975 on Lake Superior.

Bell from the Ednund Fitzgerald at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Michigan

Several other items recovered from the wreck were on display, as well as a model of the freighter.

Shipwreck Artifacts

Items recovered from various other Great Lakes shipwrecks throughout history were also on display inside the museum, accompanied by stories of the ships they came from.

Since the museum tour was self guided, I took the time to read all of the displays and learn as much as I could.

After taking the time to read all of the informational plaques next to the artifacts, I was honestly surprised to learn just how many shipwrecks were actually caused by two ships running into one another.

It was also pretty interesting to learn about the diving apparatus that was worn by the divers who explored and collected items from shipwrecks in the past.

Historic Diving Suit

Perhaps one of the most impressive artifacts on display in the museum was this 2nd order white shoal fresnel lens.  I can’t say that I’ve personally ever given much thought to what the “light” inside of a lighthouse was actually like, but seeing a huge one like this, up close and personal, in all of its sparkly glory, was interesting.

Lighthouse Light

In addition to artifacts, the museum’s theatre also showed a documentary about the ship’s fateful voyage, how it was located, and the memorial held for the crew members.

After checking out the museum and watching the documentary, we made our way over to the lighthouse.

Unfortunately, due to the weather we weren’t able to climb up to the actual lighthouse, but we did get to tour the rest of the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and learn a bit about the history and importance of the light station at Whitefish Point.

Touring the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and chatting with the historical presenters there totally reminded us of going to Greenfield Village!

Well, that’s about it for our trip to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.  If you’re interested in reading more about some of my other adventures from our road trip in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, be sure to check out the links below!

See Also:

For more information on the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, visit their website

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