Exploring the History and Wonders of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Welcome aboard! The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a treasure trove of maritime history and wonders. This amazing museum located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, is home to a variety of exhibits that showcase the state’s rich maritime heritage. From a World War II submarine to a replica of an early 1900s Great Lakes steamship, visitors can explore the inner workings of these incredible vessels and learn about the brave sailors who sailed them. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the fascinating history and marvels of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts, located in the city of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The museum is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve and celebrate the nautical heritage of Wisconsin while educating the public on the same. With interactive exhibits, in-depth displays, and amazing artifacts, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum takes you on a journey to discover the stories of Wisconsin’s maritime past.


The Wisconsin Maritime Museum was established in 1969 and is currently situated on the banks of Lake Michigan, overlooking the Manitowoc River. The museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of Wisconsin’s seafaring trade. With a mission to explore and preserve the Wisconsin’s maritime heritage and educate the public, the museum houses an impressive collection of boats, models, artifacts, and interactive exhibits that provide an in-depth view of the nautical world of Wisconsin.


The Wisconsin Maritime Museum boasts a rich collection of exhibits that showcase Wisconsin’s maritime past to visitors in a captivating way. Among the exhibits featured in the museum are those that focus on the commercial fishing industry, shipbuilding, shipping, and naval history. The museum’s displays of historic ships, boats, and artifacts provide unique and educational insights into the state’s maritime legacy.

Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to explore the exhibits that showcase the stories of the Great Lakes maritime industry. The exhibits explain everything from how wooden steamboats were used for fishing and cargo transport and offer a glimpse of what life was like for the sailors of the day.

USS Cobia Submarine

A visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is not complete without taking a tour of the famous WWII submarine, the USS Cobia, which is the museum’s major attraction. The USS Cobia was commissioned in 1943, making it one of the most iconic exhibits. After serving a mission in the Pacific theater during WWII, the ship became a training submarine before finally being decommissioned in 1954. The museum acquired the ship and opened it for tours, thus becoming one of the few places visitors can get a thorough history lesson as well as an inside view of a submarine of this kind.

Last word, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone who is interested in Wisconsin’s maritime history. The museum gives visitors a glimpse of the state’s past through its interactive exhibits, knowledgeable guides, and historic artifacts. With a collection of boats and artifacts that are unique and well-curated, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a one-of-a-kind experience that should not be missed.

Events and Programs

Visitors to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum don’t just come to passively view artifacts and exhibits. The museum offers a variety of events and programs that allow visitors to take a more active role in exploring Wisconsin’s rich maritime history. Keep reading to learn about some of the many options available.

Boat Building Workshops

One of the most popular activities at the museum is the boat-building workshops. Participants of all ages get to build their own wooden boats, learning about traditional maritime craftsmanship in the process. The workshops are led by experienced instructors and include all necessary materials and tools. Participants can choose to build a variety of boats, from small single-person canoes to larger boats that can hold multiple passengers.

These workshops are not only fun, but they also help promote and preserve the tradition of maritime craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations in Wisconsin. The boats that are built during the workshops are often put on display in the museum, allowing visitors to not only learn about the history of maritime craftsmanship, but also see it in action.

Tall Ships Festival

The annual Tall Ships Festival is one of the most exciting events hosted by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. The festival brings together historic ships from around the world for a weekend of sailing, live entertainment, and educational events. Visitors to the festival can tour the ships, watch them sail on Lake Michigan, and enjoy a variety of live performances and educational talks.

Every year, thousands of visitors come to the festival to experience the thrill of tall ships under full sail. The festival is not only a fun way to spend a weekend, but it also helps promote the importance of preserving historic ships and educating the public about maritime history.

Education Programs

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is committed to educating the public about the history and significance of Wisconsin’s maritime industry. As part of this mission, the museum offers a variety of educational programs for people of all ages.

For school groups, the museum offers field trips that include guided tours and hands-on activities. These field trips help bring classroom lessons to life and give students a deeper understanding of the importance of Wisconsin’s maritime industry. The museum also offers summer camps that allow children to have fun while learning about maritime history and the environment.

Adults can also participate in a range of educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and historical reenactments. These programs provide a deep dive into the history and culture of Wisconsin’s coastal communities, and help visitors understand why the maritime industry has been so important to the state’s economic and cultural development.

The education programs at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum help ensure that the museum is not just a place to look at artifacts behind glass, but a place to actively engage with Wisconsin’s rich maritime history.

Membership and Support

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving the state’s maritime history. The museum offers a variety of membership and support options that allow individuals to participate in the museum’s mission and enjoy its benefits.

Membership Benefits

Membership at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum comes with a variety of benefits. One of the most significant benefits is that members receive free admission to the museum. This means that members can visit the museum at any time and enjoy its exhibits without having to pay the regular admission fee. Additionally, members receive discounts at the museum store, which can be used to purchase books, souvenirs, and other items related to Wisconsin’s maritime history.

Another benefit of membership is access to exclusive events at the museum. These events are designed to bring members together and offer unique experiences that are not available to the general public. Examples of exclusive events include behind-the-scenes tours, lectures by experts in maritime history, and special exhibitions.

Finally, members of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum receive a subscription to “The Log,” which is the museum’s quarterly newsletter. The newsletter provides members with updates on museum events and programs, as well as articles and stories related to Wisconsin’s maritime history.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for people who are interested in supporting the museum’s mission and being part of its operations. Volunteers can choose to work in a variety of roles, including tour guides, museum store assistants, event coordinators, and research assistants. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and to learn more about Wisconsin’s maritime history.

Volunteers at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum receive a range of benefits, including free training and orientation, access to exclusive volunteer events, and a discount at the museum store. In addition, volunteers have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to preserve Wisconsin’s maritime heritage for future generations.


The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a non-profit organization and relies on donations to continue its operations and preserve Wisconsin’s maritime history. Donations of any amount are appreciated and can be made online or by mail.

Donors to the museum can choose to support a specific program or exhibit, or they can make a general donation to the museum. Donors may also choose to make a legacy gift to the museum by including it in their estate planning. Legacy gifts help to ensure that the museum’s mission and programs will continue for many years to come.

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum also accepts donations of artifacts, photographs, and documents related to Wisconsin’s maritime history. These donations help to expand the museum’s collection and provide valuable insights into the state’s maritime heritage.

Overall, membership, volunteering, and donations are all important ways that individuals can support the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and its mission. By becoming involved in the museum’s operations, individuals can help to preserve Wisconsin’s rich maritime history for future generations to enjoy.

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