There is a pleasant surprise awaiting you after visiting the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and watching the ships coming and going through the canal. The Lake Superior Marine Museum and Maritime Visitor Center is one of those attractions that will leave you wanting more. It is filled with information about local shipping, historical facts about Lake Superior shipwrecks and many artifacts from sunken ships.
Duluth Maritime Museum
Located just to the north of the bridge, you will first see the prominent pilot house that is the uppermost part of this unique building and attraction that is the Duluth Maritime Museum. In the pilot house, there’s a steering wheel from a ship, which is fun to stand behind and pretend you are commanding a ship. Strategically placed telescopic viewers are there for your convenience and are perfect to watch the incoming ships. Tourists come to find out the arrival and departure times of foreign and domestic ships, which are displayed on screens in the pilot house room. There are life size “mannequins” who speak to the public as they wander through ship’s cabins and staterooms, which are re-created to look as they did many years ago.
Records show that as many as 6,000 visitors a day have come through the maritime museum. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers run the museum and their building headquarters are behind the museum. The mission of the Corps and the Duluth Maritime Museum are to preserve the maritime heritage of Lake Superior and the ports of Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin. Also encouraged is community involvement, through education and promotion. School and civic groups can call ahead to sign up for tours and special learning events. Groups of 20 to 50 people are allowed; larger groups can be handled, but will need to be split into smaller tour groups. Movies about life on the big ships are shown during the day.
The Edmund Fitzgerald
Popular among the visitors is the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a Lake Superior freighter that was taken by a fierce storm on November 10th, 1975. It departed from the Duluth Superior port and headed for Detroit, but near Whitefish Point, the ship went down. All 29 crew members aboard perished. A famous song depicting the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, “The Gales of November” was written and sung by Gordon Lightfoot.
The Lake Superior Gift Shop is on the lower level of the building and specializes in novelty lighthouses, maritime puzzles and many more nautical gifts. The Duluth Maritime Museum is open from October 12th through December 20th, from 10:00am until 4:30pm everyday. From December 21st through March 19th, it is closed Monday through Thursday. Everyday in the summer it is open and admission is free at all times.
This is a place where maritime history is remembered and the beauty of the area around it is unquestioned, perfect for photographs and picnic lunches. The Lake Superior Marine Museum and Maritime Visitor Center is a perfect family adventure and is conveniently located near the Aerial Lift Bridge and many other tourist hotspots!