• rotating photo
  • rotating photo
  • rotating photo
  • rotating photo
  • rotating photo
  • rotating photo

Goodbye To Our Good Friend, Dennis Hale

Dennis Hale at Whitefish Point
As many of you might know, Dennis Hale passed away on September 2 at his home in Rock Creek, Ohio. Dennis was not only the sole survivor of the 1966 shipwreck of the Daniel J. Morrell, but was also a true friend to all of us at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. We always looked forward to his summer visits and truly enjoyed watching him and his wife, Barb, interacting with museum visitors and signing books. Dennis got to know many of us on a personal level and would often ask, “how are you doing?”, or “how have things been at the museum”, knowing that we might be in a particularly busy time of the season. For any of us that might have had the pleasure of visiting with Dennis and Barb in their hometown, one quickly got the idea that everybody knew Dennis and everybody loved the guy. His shipwreck story was one of tragedy, but he would always tell the story in such a way that you felt like you “were there” and you could almost relate to the incredible circumstances that surrounded his shipwreck and survival. Our hearts go out to his wife and family. He will be missed.

Summer Appeal Now Underway

Shipwreck Society Members and Friends know that we instituted a second fundraising drive last year, conducted in the summer, focused on raising necessary funds for Capital Improvement Projects at the Whitefish Point Light Station.  This effort was remarkably successful last year, and we are doing it again, beginning this week!  We are all together in our mission to support the Shipwreck Society. 


For 2015, key projects are: 


Motor Lifeboat Restoration

Motor Lifeboat House Restoration

Historic Building Restoration

Repair of Barrier-Free Observation Deck

Underwater Research Activities

All members, and all previous contributors to the Shipwreck Society, will receive a direct-mail piece in their US Mail within the next two weeks.  Please read this information, and please consider our need and your giving potential. 


Operational gifts are always welcome too!  Please call Sean Ley, Development Officer, at 800-635-1742 with any questions.


Please click here if you would like to make a contribution using our secure web site.






Shipwreck Museum Is Now Open for the Season

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum opened for the 2015 season on Friday, May 1. Museum staff is fully on duty to serve our 2015 visitors - come and see us!

Please click here to view special events for the museum year.

Museum hours are 10 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week, through October 31, 2015.

Funding Announced from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs

The Shipwreck Society is very pleased to announce receipt of two grant funding awards from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for its fiscal year 2015.

First, the Society is recipient of an award of $32,000 from the Program for Operational and Program support. This is the only operational grant the Society receives, and its amount is based on several factors, including how well and how extensively our organization presents its cultural, humanities, and arts programs, and how well we score during its thorough reviews.

Second, the Society has received another award of $18,000 to support purchase and installation of modern, digital, audio/visual equipment in the Motor Lifeboat House. This award comes through the Capital Improvement Program of MCACA. We thank our board member Corey Adkins for his direct assistance in organizing this project.

"It is heartening to know that the State is doing well enough to support our artistic programs in the Upper Peninsula at this level," said Sean Ley, Development Officer for the Shipwreck Society. "Not long ago, we received less funding, primarily due to the economy. The state administration appreciates the great value the arts have for our residents and visitors, and we thank our legislators for this funding."

Ley said that Shipwreck Society members who live in Michigan should take a moment to thank their state legislators for its appropriation to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural affairs whenever possible.


Annual Appeal Raises over $20,000 in 2014

The Shipwreck Society is please to announce that the Annual Appeal raised $20,689 in private funding at the end of 2014. This figure is the highest the Shipwreck Society has ever seen from this effort! Our sincere thanks to our generous donors and supporters for this wonderful response.

During the coming year, we are planning to invite participation in another Summer Appeal, that will ask for funds dedicated to capital projects. We will reserve requests for operating funds to the once-per-year Annual Appeal at the end of 2015.

The Society can of course accept donations at any time throughout the year as a 501 c(3) charitable organization. Please click here if you are interested; or, you may contact Sean Ley, Development Officer, at 800-635-1742.

Best wishes for a successful winter and we will be informing our members of exciting projects for 2015 very soon.

Restoration of Navy Radio Building Nears Completion

U.S. Navy Radio Building Secured for the Winter
The Shipwreck Society is pleased to announce great progress in the rehabilitation of the U.S. Navy Radio Building at Whitefish Point, formerly known as the Video Theatre. Shipwreck Society members are aware of our intention to rehabilitate this building for use as a Changing Exhibits Gallery, moving the Video Theatre function over to the Motor Lifeboat House, which was relocated on the site in September of 2013. There remains some work to be done to the Navy Radio Building, but the structure is safely secured for the winter. Work that has been fully completed includes: New roof and roof sheeting / 19 new historic replica high-efficiency double-hung windows, with generous support from the Jeld-Wen Window Company / Restoration of the Front Porch. Work remaining to be completed includes painting and installation of replica siding, and some work on the interior. This project, as well as the move of the Motor Lifeboat House, has been made possible by a matching grant from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs under its Capital Improvement Program. We sincerely thank MCACA for its funding that will lead to rotating Arts and Humanities exhibits at Whitefish Point, as called for in the Human Use and Natural Resources Management of 2002.

NEW DISCOVERY: Shipwreck Society Locates Wreckage of 1866 Schooner Nelson

Hull section (bow) still displays the ship's name 115 years after her sinking
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society is pleased to announce the recent discovery of the schooner Nelson, lost off Deer Park (Lake Superior) in May 1899. "This is a shipwreck that we've wanted to find for a very long time" remarked Darryl Ertel, GLSHS Director of Marine Operations. The 199' schooner was in tow of the wooden steamer A. Folsom when it went down in a devastating spring gale. Learn more about the recently discovered Nelson in the Great Lakes Shipwrecks section of this website...

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is voted as "Best of the Lake" 2014 by Lake Superior Magazine Readers!

More than 1,200 voters from all over the United States and Canada cast their votes for what they considered to be the best Lake Superior views, waterfalls, family attractions, art gallery/museum, overnight stay and more. This is an annual contest hosted by Lake Superior Magazine and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum was number one in Michigan in the "Best Art Gallery/Museum" category! We at the Shipwreck Museum would like to thank everybody who voted for us and hope to see all of you at the museum soon! See the August/September issue of Lake Superior Magazine for more information...

2014 at the Shipwreck Museum: Shipwreck Hunting, Historic Restorations, A New Hands-On Exhibit and a Motor Lifeboat

Motor Lifeboat #36381 prepares to depart Tall Timbers, Maryland en route to the Shipwreck Museum

Much is happening at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in 2014, including the opening of a new "Hands-On" exhibit for kids, the restoration of a 1929 U.S. Navy Radio Station building on site, the design of the 1923 Motor Lifeboat House restoration and ongoing strategic planning. The Motor Lifeboat House was moved back to Whitefish Point this past September (2013), and the physical restoration will begin in 2015. Ultimately, it will become the museum's new theater and event space. Also, through the generosity of the GLSHS members, we have recently acquired and paid for a Motor Lifeboat (#36381) to be exhibited within the Motor Lifeboat House.

The research vessel David Boyd has been regularly heading into Lake Superior and Whitefish Bay to further document known shipwrecks and discover new wreck-sites. A number of anomalies have come up on the Boyd's side-scan sonar and further investigation is required to determine if they are in fact shipwrecks. Stay tuned!

The Shipwreck Society also just completed nearly two years of planning with its partners, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Seney National Wildlife Refuge) and Michigan Audubon Society (Whitefish Point Bird Observatory)at Whitefish Point. Internal Strategic Planning has been underway at the museum throughout this past winter and spring, and many aspects of our operations are being reviewed and discussed. An entirely new Mission Statement was created and approved by our Board of Directors, which summarizes our focus:

The Mission of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society is Preserve the lights and stations which warned mariners of the dangers inherent, honor those who were aboard and bravely attempted rescue and discover, document and interpret the vessels which instead took the deep.

Stay tuned as we navigate the 2014 season for more updates and news!

Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs

MCACA_Web_Page.pngThe Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) has supported the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum for many years through a series of cultural grant programs that are designed to promote appreciation of and education in the Fine Arts in Michigan.  The Shipwreck Museum is a current recipient of a Program for Operational Support Award for 2014.

A portion of funds received from MCACA come from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  For more information on cultural programs, please visit  http://www.michiganadvantage.org/Arts/.

TV 9&10 Feature Story chronicles the Motor Lifeboat House Move...

The 1923 USCG Motor Lifeboat House in its original location at Whitefish Point

The move of the historic Motor Lifeboat House back to Whitefish Point has now been told through TV 9&10, the Northern Michigan CBS television news station. To view, click on link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVnrq2-_8rA&feature=youtu.be

Awards Received from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs


The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society is very pleased to announce the receipt of two grant awards from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) for 2014.

The Society has been awarded $21,000 under the Program for Operational Support.  These funds are designated as general program support for Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum programs.

And, the Society has also been awarded $30,000 under the Capital Improvement or Facilities Improvement Program designated for cultural and historical facilities in Michigan.  These new funds are targeted at rehabilitation and adaptive restoration of the U.S. Navy Radio Station Barracks Building at Whitefish Point, more commonly known as the Video Theatre.

During the season of 2014, the present video theatre space will be moved to the newly relocated 1923 U.S. Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat House.  Interior work on the Navy Radio Building will allow a new Changing Exhibits Gallery to be installed in this building, so that rotating (changing) museum and artistic exhibits can be presented, increasing the cultural experience for old and new audiences.  Both MCACA awards assure an exciting, interesting, and busy museum season that will be here soon!


U.S. Senator Carl Levin Visits Shipwreck Museum


 Left to right:  Bruce Lynn, Executive Director, Senator Carl Levin, Sean Ley, Development Officer

 On Friday, August 16, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum was honored to receive U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D - Michigan) for a visit.  The Senator said that the purpose of his visit was to enjoy the day and tour the site he had heard about for a long time.  The Senator and his staff were instrumental in securing the 2012 Patent Amendment that allows work under the Human Use and Natural Resources Management Plan to proceed

Shipwreck Society Receives Presentation from United States Congressman Dan Benishek


Left to right:  Bruce Lynn, Executive Director; Sean Ley, Development Officer; and Congressman Dan Benishek.

On Friday, August 16, U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek (R - MI District 1) visited the Shipwreck Society at the Weather Bureau Building in Sault Sainte Marie.  The Congressman presented a signed copy of our 2012 Patent Amendment to Bruce Lynn, Executive Director, and Sean Ley, Development Officer.   This federal document is signed by Congressman John Boehner, Speaker of the House; President of the Senate Pro Tempore in June of 2012,  the late Senator Daniel Inouye; and the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

We sincerely thank Congressman Benishek, Senator Carl Levin, and their staffs for their extensive work to see this bill (S.404) through to its completion.

The legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald remains the most mysterious and controversial of all shipwreck tales heard around the Great Lakes. Her story is surpassed

• read more