A long time ago in the ancient 1990s when the internet was still new, I stumbled across the Shipwreck Museum website. I read every page of it, which was a total of four pages. I made it a goal to visit one day.
It only took 20 years to achieve, but in July 2017 I visited this museum in Michigan when we were camping at nearby Tahquamenon Falls.
Plan your UP Camping Trip with our suggested itinerary.
Visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
The museum is about all the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes. It includes wrecks from both the Canadian side and the American side of the lakes.
The biggest attraction of the museum is the bell of the Edmonds Fitzgerald.
The Edmunds Fitzgerald was the last major Great Lakes freighter to sink. The Shipwreck Museum Society worked with the Canadian government (as the wreck itself lies in Canadian waters) to find the final resting place of the ship and to retrieve the bell.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum grounds have a number of buildings. The main museum, a lighthouse, a shed that contains one of the United States Life Saving Service boats, and of course, a gift shop.
There is also the lighthouse keeper’s house and another building that is used to show the movie about retrieving the bell.
Climb the Lighthouse
It is worth paying a little extra to go on the lighthouse tour. It gives you a great view of the museum grounds and the wildlife refuge that surrounds it.
The grounds are located at Whitefish Point which is the closest American landmass to the shipwreck.
Whitefish Point is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The museum is only open half the year, May 1 through October 31.
The museum has an admission fee, but the bell is the whole reason to go so you may as well pay it and go see it and all the other displays there. One thing to note, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot plays on repeat in the main gallery.
You will be singing it in your sleep that night. Find out more about the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum here.