When the devastating White Hurricane hit in 1913, it overturned ships on four of the five Great Lakes, sunk 19 of them and killed more than 250 people. Although we often associate destruction like this with stormy seas in the Atlantic or Pacific, the power of the Great Lakes is clear at the Grand Rapids Public Museum exhibit Great Lakes Shipwrecks: Storms and Stories.
The exhibit houses relics from scores of shipwrecks, like the victims of the White Hurricane, and provides visitors with a detailed look at the historical importance of the Great Lakes, which have long been a critical pathway for transportation between the United States and Canada.
If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check out the self-guided activity kit (you can pick it up at the Curiosity Shop), which leads kids through the museum, comparing ships, their cargo, and other museum structures. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can join museum volunteers in their Discovery Cart program, which helps visitors understand the nuts and bots of how ships survive—and why they don’t—on the open water.
There’s also a special treat for the video game crowd: Ferris State University students worked with the Museum to design a game that lets kids of all ages join the on-board experience. When you play, you become become part of the crew, a captain, or part of a rescue team, and better understand how weather, human decisions, design, and plain old bad luck factor into shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.
You can catch this informative exhibit now through November 2013 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Admission to the exhibit is included with general admission.
$8 adults; $7 seniors; $3 kids 3-8; free for kids 2 & under
Closed on Sunday & Monday
Tuesdays open late 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.