Summer Appeal 2016

Posted on July 12th, 2016

The Shipwreck Society is pleased to announce the 2016 Summer Appeal!

This is one of two appeals conducted each year by the Society, to ask our members and friends for contributions related to Capital Improvement work at the Shipwreck Museum site, Whitefish Point Light Station, Whitefish Point, Michigan. The site has been on the National Register of Historic Sites since 1973.

Members will received a hardcopy appeal packet in their US Mail. However, those wishing to contribute to this important fundraiser may do so by visiting our 2016 Summer Appeals Donation page.

Projects that need funding in 2016 include:

Please note that this Summer Appeal is designed for Capital Funding. We ask our members to remember that we ask for operational gifts during the Annual Appeal held in the fall, which will begin on November 1, 2016.


Motor Lifeboat House Rehabilitation

Motor lifeboat house 2Thanks to previous years’ Summer Appeal donations, and a current Capital Improvement Award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the 1923 Motor Lifeboat House is undergoing its complete rehabilitation right now. These images illustrate what funding can do to preserve this historic building, an original structure from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Whitefish Point Lifeboat Rescue Station.  While rehabilitation will be completed by the end of summer 2016, funding is still needed for an exterior deck that will exhibit the Motor Lifeboat outdoors in the summer months.


Motor Lifeboat Rehabilitation

CG36381_Jan2014_002Our members are aware that we have acquired the Type TR USCG 36381, an authentic 36-foot Motor Lifeboat identical to the boat used at Whitefish Point, only 10 serial numbers away. This vessel is now about to undergo restoration at Mertaugh Boat Works in Cedarville, Michigan, with assistance from Passage Boat Works of DeTour Village.


Lightkeepers Quarters Exterior Restoration

Lightkeepers quarters 1While the LKQ underwent extensive restoration 1994-1997, it is a 155 year old building, and presently needs work on each of its 26 window frames and muntins, which are deteriorating due to time. The Shipwreck Society has managed to stop water incursion both at the windows and chimneys, but this project must be addressed as soon as possible.


White Shoal Lens New Rotational Bearing

White shoal lens 1Our members are also aware that the spectacular White Shoal Lens Exhibit actually rotated in the museum gallery until 2002, when it was necessary to remove the mercury from the lens that had allowed it to rotate since it was built in 1910. At that time, we also discovered that certain gear parts had been wearing out as well. The solution is going to be to purchase and professionally install a specially made ball bearing assembly, hopefully over the off-season of 2016-2017, so that this most extraordinary 2 order Fresnel lens – one of a kind on all of the Great Lakes – can again rotate and light the gallery with its beautiful colors.

White shoal lens 2


Underwater Research Activities

Underwater research 2The Shipwreck Society’s R.V. David Boyd is now in the best shape it ever been since our acquisition of this former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vessel.  All systems work perfectly and we have invested in a new tether for the ROV that includes a water-block to avoid damage to its delicate fiber-optics.  In addition to further document of the schooner Nelson in 2016, we plan to attempt more documentation of the famous Henry B. Smith which lies in deep water north of Marquette.   And, now that we have established a regular program of systematic searching, using GPS and the latest computer positioning software, along with our Marine Sonics sonar, we may soon find – the French Minesweepers.

Underwater research 1


The Mission of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society is to:

Preserve lights and stations which warned mariners of the  dangers inherent,
Honor those who were aboard and who bravely attempted rescue, and
Discover, document, and interpret vessels which instead took the deep

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