Summer programs at the maritime centerSometimes it’s said that the best things in life come free. At the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center — located in the heart of Canal Park — everything is free, including its summer programs.
Sometimes it’s said that the best things in life come free.
At the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center — located in the heart of Canal Park — everything is free, including its summer programs.
“We’ve been having our summer programs since we opened in 1973,” Kevin Gange, a park ranger for The Lake Superior Maritime Museum Association, told the Budgeteer. “Our programs offer ways to interpret our local history.”
The visitor center, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is offering a series of summer programs between 12 and 4 p.m. now through Labor Day.
“Our most popular programs are about the shipwrecks and lighthouses,” Gange said. “And people have really enjoyed both the outdoor and indoor tours.”
Also a part of the visitor center summer series is “The Pier History Tour,” a 30-minute outdoor walking tour that allows visitors to learn about the history of Canal Park.
“The walking tour adds a different dimension to our visitors’ experience,” he said. “They can talk to a live guide, ask questions, and have things explained.”
Among the programs, which include films, videotapes, and slide-lecture presentations, are exhibits that can be viewed daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer season.
“One of our main points of interest is the replicas of a full-size pilot house with three ship cabins,” Thom Holden, director of the maritime center, told the Budgeteer.
Besides that, there are dozens of scale model ships scattered about the building.
“All the ships are of the same scale — with the exception of the Edmund Fitzgerald — and we have both modern and historic Great Lakes freighters,” Holden said.
There are not only points of interest inside, but also outside, he said.
“We’re nestled right in with the Lift Bridge and the ship canal, as well as three lighthouses right on the pier,” Holden said. “Our center provides a public place for people to interact with vessels when they’re “right in your face” coming through the ship canal.”
And if people can’t be in Duluth to watch the ships travel through the canal, the maritime center offers a ship web cam that can be accessed from their website at www.lssma.com.
“We try to get schedules out for all the ship arrival and departures and make them available to the public,” Holden said. “And people can watch the web cam from out of state or out of town at their computer.”
Just this past year, the maritime center added a new exhibit about the shipwreck of the Thomas Wilson, a whaleback freighter that sank in June of 1907 in the Duluth harbor.
“Our exhibit tells of the collision and also includes several artifacts, which are now on display,” he said.
“We have all kinds of exhibits to do, see, and learn,” Gange said.
For more information regarding specific programs and times at the maritime center, call (218) 720-5260, extension 1.