At the tip of Whitefish Point sits a must-see attraction that you might have missed. Twenty minutes north of the turnoff for Tahquamenon Falls State Park is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and one of the best views of Lake Superior.
You could easily spend an afternoon exploring the many buildings of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum learning about the shipwrecks and life-saving devices that were used over the years.
The main gallery of the museum showcases 13 shipwrecks, but it’s not all gloom and doom. The museum focuses on the human stories of the crew as well as the circumstances surrounding the shipwreck. The exhibits also showcase the evolution of the boats and ships to explain why there are fewer shipwrecks in the modern day and age.
Don’t forget to stop and watch the twenty-minute film on the recovery of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald’s ship bell. The film highlights the family connection of the 29 crewmen that sank on the boat November 10, 1975. You can also see the actual bell in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum’s main gallery.
The Whitefish Point Lighthouse is also part of the museum. Explore the lower level of the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters built in 1861 to see how the family of the lighthouse lived. The home is set up to represent the way it was remembered by Bertha Endress-Rollo. Bertha lived at the lighthouse on-and-off for twenty-one years of her life.
Spend a little extra with your museum admission and you can climb the lighthouse tower for a stunning view of Lake Superior. Proceeds are used for the upkeep of the lighthouse.
The best part of the museum was the Surfboat House built in 1923. It wasn’t just the cool lifesaving efforts and devices packed in this small building, but the staff of the museum really knows their stuff when it comes to the exhibits. Take the time to listen to the amazing facts that the staff knows and their enthusiasm for the museum. Listening to them is far more engaging than reading a wall plaque.
Last but never least, what museum doesn’t have a little shop? Make sure to stop by the Museum Store to explore the many displays and check out some of the best fudge west of Mackinac Island.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is open from May 1st until October 31st so start planning now! No matter when you visit make sure to share your adventure with us by posting your photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ILovetheSoo.