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Michigan Maritime Museum

260 Dyckman Avenue
South Haven, Michigan

Phone: 616-637-8078 -- 800-747-3810

Statement of Purpose:

We will provide maritime education through research, collections, preservation, and the presentation of Michigan's Great Lakes and waterways history and culture. We will be Michigan's leading institution of maritime education, research and discovery, accessibility, and collaboration.


The Museum campus is located on the Black River in the heart of the Lake Michigan resort community of South Haven. Five separate buildings offer a variety of engaging opportunities for the Museum visitor including permanent and changing exhibits on Michigan maritime history, a center for the teaching of boatbuilding and related maritime skills, and a regionally renowned research library. Waterfront festivals and events are complimented by the hustle and bustle of a modern harbor and the nearby attraction of vast sandy beaches in one of West Michigan's most picturesque shoreline communities.


The Museum's artifact and archival collections bring Michigan's maritime history to life. They reflect the full range of maritime tradition in Michigan, from the Native American dugout canoes to the pleasure craft and the commercial fishing vessels that ply the lakes today. Subjects addressed by our collections include Native American watercraft, boatbuilding, shipbuilding, mapping and navigation, commercial shipping, maritime landscape, harbor development, commercial fishing, yachting, and recreational boating, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, the U.S. Lighthouse Service and much more.

Research by the Michigan Maritime Museum and collaborative initiative with other institutions and scholars had produced a number of special publications and exhibitions, some of which are listed below.


"Underwater Archaeology in Michigan," Retrieving Michigan's Buried Past: The Archaeology of the Great Lakes State by Kenneth R. Pott, Editor John R. Halsey, and The Conservation of Archaeological Artifacts from Freshwater Environments by Katherine Singley

Exhibitions: "Fish Today, Gone Tomorrow: A Story of Great Lakes Fishing." and "S.S. Eastland: America’s Great Maritime Disaster."

Explore exhibits on various aspects of Great Lakes fishing, from Native American through commercial and sport fishing, conservation methods and environmental influences, the luxury passenger steamer S.S. Eastland which met with disaster in 1915, and U.S. Lifesaving Service and Coast Guard Exhibits. View restored rescue boats and discover how they were used. Learn about Michigan's lifesavers and lifesaving stations. View watercraft and marine engines from the Museum collection housed in an historic fishery building. Research various aspects of maritime history at the Marialyce Canonie Great Lakes Research Library, housed in the historic Lightkeeper’s Dwelling. Stroll the 500 foot boardwalk on the Black River and view harbor traffic.




Guided Tours can be arranged by calling the Museum at (616) 637-8078 or (800) 747-3810

Membership Benefits: Free admission to the Museum, The Ship's Lamp Newsletter, and discounts in the Museum Store and for Padnos Boat Shed classes. To become a member please call the museum. We are recruiting volunteers to serve as docents. We invite you to come and join us. Find out for yourself how rewarding it is to tell others about our maritime heritage. For more information on becoming a Docent, please call Lisa, our Docent Coordinator.

Take I-196 to South Haven exit 20 (Phoenix Rd), go west to Broadway, turn right, follow around corner and over the Black River bridge, Museum on the left side of street.


Key Personnel:

Barbara K Kreuzer, Ed.D, Executive Director
Lisa Pepper, Docent Coordinator

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