The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum opened for the 2012 tourist season on Tuesday, May 1. Shipwreck Museum Site Manager Terry Begnoche commented, “We had a really nice crowd today, I hope this will be the trend all summer!”
The museum is located at Whitefish Point, MI, a natural turning point for ship traffic between Lake Superior and Whitefish Bay. Gales, collisions and strandings exacted a heavy toll on early shipping, earning the area’s infamous moniker, The ShipwreckCoast. The November 1975 sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald took place within 17 miles of Whitefish Point. The Fitzgerald, made famous by Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting ballad, is the featured exhibit of the museum.The museum main gallery, the Whitefish Point Lighthouse Keeper’s Quarters, a restored 1923 USCG Lifeboat Station Surfboat House and a theater showing a 15 minute video recounting the Edmund Fitzgerald’s last hours and subsequent bell raising are all included in a museum visit.
New exhibits in 2013 will tell the stories of the Carl D. Bradley and the Daniel J. Morrell. The Bradley broke apart and sank in a 1958 Lake Michigan storm, while the Morrell suffered a similar fate on Lake Huron in 1966. New multi-media exhibits will take visitors on high-definition underwater video tours of the Morrell and Bradley wreck sites, while an also new video montage of Fitzgerald crew-members puts a human face on the tragedy.
The popular GLSHS Maritime History Speaker Series is back for 2013 and begins this Friday, May 18, with Lighthouses of the ShipwreckCoast. Shipwreck Museum Operations Manager Bruce Lynn will take visitors on a pictorial tour of these stalwart beacons and bring to life the hidden stories that make such lighthouses so interesting.