After eight years of planning, fundraising and building renovations, the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum opened to the community on Saturday, June 10. The museum is located in the former US Coast Guard Station, a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
The project is dear to the hearts of many community members in Ludington. Though they did receive a $633,000 grant, $5.2 million was raised locally. “This speaks to the generosity of the community,” says Rick Plummer, head of the Ludington Maritime Museum and retired theater professor at West Shore Community College. “This town is full of friendly, passionate people who strive to make Ludington grow and prosper.” With strong support from 160 volunteers, the museum will be open every day of the week from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $9 for children.
Originally built in 1934, the museum is 11,000 square feet and three stories tall. All exhibits are handicap accessible. The sloped floor, mahogany wood and carpet that mimics the motion of water reflect the authenticity of the establishment.
The MyNorth team visited the maritime museum June 9, the day before the grand opening. We were wowed by the numerous hands-on activities and artifacts.
5 Things We Love About the Ludington Maritime Museum
- Captain a Car Ferry: Ever wanted to pilot your own boat? Steer the wheel of the Pere Marquette 22 into Ludington’s harbor through an interactive module on the second-floor deck.
- Ludington Panoramic:: On the third floor, this special exhibit features a giant, hand-painted landscape of Ludington created by storyteller Jacob Lunde in the 1930s. Many things have changed in Ludington since then!
- Ship and Lighthouse Models: Over 20 detailed ship models were gifted by a 90-year-old war veteran and are on display throughout the museum. Over 200 lighthouse models were also donated, including almost all of the lighthouses in Michigan as well as lighthouses from around the world.
- Shipwreck Exhibit: Explore the treacherous water of Lake Michigan. Over 1,000 ships have gone down but only 250 have been found. This exhibits showcases the mystery and danger of the lake and includes many recovered artifacts from shipwrecks.
- Holograms: This truly is a modern museum. Upon entrance, you will be greeted by a hologram of Captain Nels Palmer. In another room, Caption Andy Van Dyke will appear when you step up to the exhibit. Videos and audio of real shipwrecks, reenactments and other complementary education resources make the museum welcoming to the next generation.
Coming soon! The Maritime Heritage Park will be just a few hundred feet from the museum featuring Ludington’s 44 and Finlander boats as well as a fish market. The museum itself will be looking to add/change exhibits from time to time, so be on the lookout for more fun to come.