Whitefish Point is a cape on Lake Superior and is known as the most dangerous shipping channel in the Great Lakes. The area is even known as the Graveyard of Great Lakes. I have visited Whitefish Point many times over the years but I had never been to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. I have to admit that I wasn’t interested in visiting until my favorite television show, Expedition Unknown visited on an episode looking for missing French Minesweepers from World War I. Since Josh Gates visited, I figured I should visit as well, so when we were up in St. Ignace for Labor Day, we made the trek to Whitefish Point.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum consists of many historic buildings that were built by the Coast Guard. The Lighthouse Keepers Quarters from 1861 is furnished as it was in the 19th Century. The Surfboat House from 1923 is also available for touring but was closed when we visited. The Motor Lifeboat House from 1923 is also open to the public and that is where the film about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is played. The Whitefish Point Lighthouse (top) is the oldest operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, built in 1861.
The Main Museum building features exhibits about shipwrecks throughout the history of Lake Superior. The biggest display was dedicated to the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank 17 miles off the coast of Whitefish Point in 1975 with all 29 crew members on board. The museum displays the bell from the ship and you can hear the 1976 Gordon Lightfoot song while you browse the exhibits.
The museum is pretty small and costs $15 per adult ($11 per child) to visit so I understand why I had never visited before. I would have been more interested in the video if it talked about more of the nearby shipwrecks, not just the Edmund Fitzgerald. Overall, I recommend visiting Whitefish Point for the views, but it’s hard for me to say if the museum is worth it or not. If this is your only stop in the Upper Peninsula, it is probably worth it, but if you are continuing to Soo Locks or Pictured Rocks, I would suggest you save your money for a boat tour at one of those locations.
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