Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Door County Maritime Museum Remembers Sinking of Edmund Fitzgerald


The Door County Maritime Museum commemorates the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald with an exhibit in the Reddin Bridge Room of the Sturgeon Bay museum.

The exhibit will open on October 21, and continue through November 10. It will be taken down for a month while the museum conducts its Merry-Time Festival of Trees event after which it will be go back up and run from December 10 through April 17.

The wreck, made famous for the mysterious conditions under which the 729-foot freighter sank and further elevated in the public’s conscience by Gordon Lightfoot’s hit song, remains the most significant sinking in Great Lakes history.

The sinking on November 10, 1975 has particular ties to Door County since the vessel had a number of winter layovers in Sturgeon Bay. Even more significant was the fact that two of the 29 lives lost in the tragedy were Sturgeon Bay natives.

While not one of the museum’s larger exhibits, it will effectively pay tribute to the hardy seamen who braved some of the most difficult weather conditions ever experienced on Lake Superior. Highlights include a deck light and life jacket given to the museum when the Fitzgerald was in Sturgeon Bay for off-season work. A video featuring radio conversations discussing the possible sinking and rescue attempts is another intriguing aspect of the presentation. Artwork of the Fitzgerald from the museum’s collection will be interspersed throughout the exhibit.

In conjunction with the new exhibit, the museum will launch its 2015-16 Great Lakes Maritime Speaker Series with a presentation by author Rochelle Pennington, whose extensive research on the Fitzgerald

sinking is being compiled for a new book being published next spring. Pennington has appeared at the museum before, including a program detailing her research for her books on the Christmas Tree Ship. The program will be held November 5, at 7 p.m. at the museum in Sturgeon Bay.

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Photo Caption: “Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Walter Peterson

South Shore JUN17