Our observation deck is just behind
the Maritime Museum building.

Neil Woodward

A proud Keweenaw
National Historical
Park Heritage Site

Announcements: All of the Keweenaw County Historical Museums will begin reopening on June 11, 2017 for the summer season. See the Site and Museum Schedule page for the exact time and dates for specific museums.
We have also posted a complete calendar of events for our summer season on our Calendar of Events page as well as a summary of our Adventures in History programs on the Adventures in History page.

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Maritime models

The Maritime Museum has several displays
of navigational aids and ship models.

The story of copper mining in the Keweenaw has always been intertwined with that of Great Lakes shipping. From the early 1840's through almost 1900 the only way to get copper out of the mines in Keweenaw County was by ship. In the early days the only way to get into the towns of the Keweenaw was by ship. Early travelers had to anchor off shore and take small boats to reach the shore. Soon large docks were built in towns such as Copper Harbor, Eagle Harbor and Eagle River to provide more economical ways of shipping. Light stations were built to guide vessels around the Keweenaw and the reefs that surround her to provide safe passage to the towns of Duluth, Twin Harbors, etc. While many of these stations have closed one can still see vessels off the coast of the Keweenaw carrying cargo up and down bound on Lake Superior.

Mesquite lifering

The Maritime Museum has several
artifacts from the U.S.C.G.
Cutter Mesquite.

The Keweenaw County Historical Society Maritime Museum contains displays that look at the role of shipping on Lake Superior. The museum has several scale models of ships. It has a gallery of photographs and stories of many of the ships that sailed Lake Superior. It also contains navigation displays, stories of ship wrecks, maritime equipment including a working marine radio.

On December 4, 1989 the Cost Guard Mesquite became the latest ship to sink in the waters off of the Keweenaw. She struck ground while making the late fall run to take the navigational buoys from the lake near BĂȘte Gris on the south shore of the Keweenaw. After many efforts were made to free the ship she was sunk to become another wreck for divers to visit in the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve. The maritime museum has several displays telling the story of the Mesquite and other Keweenaw shipwrecks.

Planning your visit

Hours & Admission -The Maritime Museum and Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Complex is open from mid-June to early October. Admission $5.00. Children free.

Location -The Maritime Museum is located in the old fog horn signal building at the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Complex, located on Lighthouse Drive. GPS: N 47 27.592 , W 88 09.586, Decimal Degrees: 47.459865, -88.159763

Need a map? Click on this small Google Map to open a larger version that will give you complete access to a larger Google map of the area, satellite view, etc. You may use this link to go to Google Maps Help if you are not familiar with Google Maps.



Related Links - You may wish to explore the following sites for additional information about shipping on Lake Superior as well as the wreck of the U.S.C.G. Cutter Mesquite.

The wreck of the Mesquite (
/keweenaw/ - many different wrecks)

Current Great Lakes Shipping-Boatnerd

The shipwreck of the Mesquite-USMILNET (many photos)