Saturday, November 10 is the 37th anniversary of the date that the freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald was swallowed by Lake Superior with all 29 men lost. On that date a new exhibit, “Great Lakes Shipwrecks, Storms and Stories” opens at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
The year-long exhibition spotlights Le Griffon, a sailing ship that sank in 1679, and the Carl D. Bradley, a limestone hauler that went down in a Lake Michigan storm on November 19, 1958; only two of her crew of 35 survived. Artifacts on display include a Dutch Bible from the Phoenix, which burned in 1847 near its destination of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and supplies from a Fitzgerald lifeboat.
Visitors to the exhibition can act as captain, crew and lifesaving teams in games designed by students of Ferris State University’s Digital Animation and Video Game Design Program.
A series of occasional lectures kicks off at 1 p.m., Saturday, November 10 with a multi-media presentation by Valerie van Heest, a Michigan diver, filmmaker and author of books including “Lost and Found: Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan.”
On December 8 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. John Hamstra will present his documentary “Survivors: A Great Lakes Tragedy” about salmon fishermen hit by a storm on Lake Michigan, and another video about planting salmon in Michigan rivers.
Future programs include a talk by David G. Brown, who wrote about the 1913 super storm that wrecked 19 ships and took the lives of 238 sailors in his book “White Hurricane.”
Check the museum website for additional lectures to be added throughout the year.
The exhibit and programs are included in the museum admission fee.
For events commemorating the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald check out
Rough Seas Season.
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