The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

was founded in 1978 by a group of divers, teachers, and educators to commence exploration of historic shipwrecks in eastern Lake Superior, near Whitefish Point in Michigan’s scenic Upper Peninsula.

What's New

The Shipwrecks of Lake Superior's Southeastern Shores - October 18 at 6:30pm

Join the Shipwreck Society and award winning Great Lakes Maritime historian, author and photographer, Bob Campbell, as he takes us on a trip through the dramatic history of Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. Through the years, hundreds of ships came to grief along the 80 mile stretch of shoreline between Whitefish Point and the area of the Grand Marais, Michigan.  The program will take place in the 1923 USCG Motor Lifeboat House at Whitefish Point, starting at 6:30pm. Questions? Call 800-635-1742.



The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS), a leader in the field of underwater exploration and shipwreck documentation on the Upper Great Lakes, recently discovered the wreckage of the composite steamer S.R. Kirby. The vessel sank near Eagle Harbor, Michigan in May 1916. The S.R. Kirby was a relatively unusual ship, in that it was constructed using an iron framework, with a wooden hull. The vessel was 294’ long, built in 1890 (Wyandotte, MI) and rests in over 800’ of water.


Summer Appeal 2019

Members and donors of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society know that this is the time of year to consider making a tax deductible summer contribution to the Shipwreck Society’s many Capital Projects. This is our announcement of this fundraising effort for 2019. Donate Online Now

The latest capital project we have undertaken is production of a new Shipwreck Documentary Video Series that will provide information about Lake Superior’s wrecks of the A.A. Parker, Cyprus, Schooner Nelson, and our brand-new discovery of the composite steamer (constructed of wood and metal), the S.R. Kirby which lies at an extreme depth off the Keweenaw Peninsula.


2019 Special Events at the Shipwreck Museum

As most of you know, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum hosts a variety of speakers and events each year. In 2019 you’ll note an interesting combination of speakers, larger events and even the opportunity for a kayak tour of the Shipwreck Coast. Kayak tour? Yes, we’ll partner with Birdseye Outfitters of Sault Sainte Marie, MI, to make this expedition a reality. Our traditional events, such as our annual Edmund Fitzgerald memorial program (Nov. 10, 2019) and the Whitefish Point: Run for the Light (October 12, 2019), will take place as they have for years. Our annual visit from Frank Mays, survivor of the 1958 sinking of the Carl D. Bradley, will take place on July 12-14. Mr. Mays will sign copies of his book, as well as tell the story of his shipwreck. And Michigan historian Roger P. Hulett, Vice-President of the Great Lakes Lore Museum, will join Frank and will co-present his book, A Lot More to Do: The Remarkable Life of Frank Mays, that same weekend. We’ll feature some exciting new programs too, such as Dianna Higgs Stampfler’s Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses book signing and program on September 5, 2019. Have questions about these events? Please call our administrative offices at 800-635-1742. Come on up to Whitefish Point and join us for any or all of these exciting events/programs!

Read More for event details.


Terry Pepper (1948-2019), A True Friend of the Shipwreck Society

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry Pepper, former Executive Director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Association and a truly nice person. Terry was always willing to help us at the Shipwreck Museum, and made major contributions to our collective understanding of Great Lakes’ lighthouses, even going as far as to allow us to use his detailed Whitefish Point Light-Station research to aid our staff in their understanding of our own lighthouse. He was always willing to come up and do a program at the museum, and his presentations were always interesting and entertaining.


Special Thanks to Stand Up for Great Lakes!

On November 10, 2018, the Stand Up for Great Lakes team of Kwin Morris, Jeff Guy and Joe Lorenz, joined Shipwreck Museum staff and Board Members for a small presentation in the 1923 Motor Lifeboat House, at Whitefish Point. Always a special day at the museum, November 10 marks the anniversary of the sinking of the 729′ Great Lakes’ freighter, Edmund Fitzgerald. This year marked the 43rd anniversary of the ship’s sinking, and while this day’s events at the Shipwreck Museum are of a more reflective nature, there was time to celebrate a remarkable project, and an extremely generous donation. Many of you will remember the build-up to, and ultimately successful paddle-board crossing of Lake Superior by the Stand Up for Great Lakes team this past July. The Shipwreck Society participated in a support role, by providing the R/V David Boyd as a support vessel.



Members of the Shipwreck Society are familiar with the 1923 U.S. Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat House, and with our acquisition of USCG 38381, an original 36-foot Motor Lifeboat now under restoration at Mertaugh Boat Works in Hessel, Michigan. We are very pleased to report that the Exhibition Deck, to display this vessel outside during the museum season, has been completed!


Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Awards 2019 Operational Support Funding

This award comes under MCACA’s Operational Support Program in the amount of $20,000 for Program Support, in the areas of arts and humanities. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum has consistently incorporated paintings, ship models, videos and artifacts with its museum exhibits for many years, making use of fine art to interpret history. Most shipwrecks did not occur with a television, still, or video camera recording the incident; yet through history, visual artists have used their medium to capture the drama of such events, and the museum features the work of many artists, most of whom grew up in Michigan.


Stand Up for Great Lakes crossing of Lake Superior-Success!

Under near perfect conditions, the Stand Up for Great Lakes crew, consisting of Kwin Morris, Joe Lorenz and Jeff Guy, paddle-boarded across Lake Superior in just 21 hours, and in doing so took a dramatic step to protect, educate and stand up for all Great Lakes.  They departed Sinclair Cove, Ontario on Tuesday morning amidst fog en route for the Edmund Fitzgerald wreck site, laid a wreath above the area of the wreck itself on Tuesday evening, and by 6am on Wednesday morning they arrived at Whitefish Point. A large crowd greeted them as the sun was coming up and the waves only then started to pick-up. Stand Up for Great Lakes named the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (501 (c)3) as the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts this year, and if you would like to donate, there is still time. Please visit their website at, Let’s all take a moment to thank Kwin, Jeff and Joe for the efforts to protect our lakes and to help raise funds for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society!

Online Museum Store is Open for Business!

Here is a reminder to our web visitors that the Shipwreck Society does indeed have a Museum Store that is active throughout the year. Please click here to be directed to all categories of items and gifts for sale through our webstore.


No Drone Zone

For the safety and security of our patrons and property, The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point does not allow Drones.  Take all the pictures and videos you want, but be sure to leave your drone at home or in your vehicle! Thank you for respecting our No Drone Zone policy.

Administrative: US Weather Bureau Building 400 W. Portage Avenue, Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783 906-635-1742 Toll Free Phone: 800-635-1742
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum - Whitefish Point 18335 N. Whitefish Point Road, Paradise, MI 49768 888-492-3747 Contact Us