One of the most popular Great Lakes is Lake Superior. In order to give visitors an exclusive look into Lake Superior, and the surrounding area, members of the Duluth community created the Lake Superior Marine Museum. Located along Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, the Lake Superior Marine Museum gives visitors a one in a kind experience.



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The Lake Superior Marine Museum was founded in fall 1973. Since the Lake Superior Marine Museum opened, it has been free to the public. This is largely due to the Museum being completely owned and operated by the U.S. federal government. Although admission into the Lake Superior Marine Museum is free, visitors are encouraged to make a donation to help maintain and support the Museum.

Although there isn’t much history within the overall Lake Superior Marine Museum, there is a dense amount of historical information about the Fresnel lens, one of the exhibits at the Lake Superior Marine Museum. The Fresnel lens was installed on the South Pier of the Duluth Ship Canal in 1901. It served as the main light for this area. Fast forward to 1995, the Coast Guard loaned to historic Fresnel lens to the Lake Superior Marine Museum when a plastic lens was installed into the Inner Range Light.

Since 2001, many people have made efforts to preserve, illuminate, and display the historic Fresnel lens. One of the main people in this process is Jim Dunlap, a lampist from New York. Dunlap was instrumental in ultimately refurbishing the Fresnel lens.

In order to keep an element of surprise and preserve the unique experience of visiting the Lake Superior Marine Museum, the Museum does not provide a substantial amount of information about what lies within their exhibits. Although there isn’t an extensive amount of information available about the collection at the Lake Superior Marine Museum, visitors can expect to explore:

• Demonstrations of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes throughout history.

• Information and replicas of the Aerial Lift Bridge.

• Replica cabins, which are extremely detailed and historically accurate.

• A replica of a pilothouse that one would find on an average ship in the past.

• A steam engine that takes up a whopping three stories.

• Approximately 50 scale models of various marine supplies and technology.



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The Lake Superior Marine Museum has a variety of educational opportunities for school aged children and the general Duluth community. Many of the educational opportunities at the Lake Superior Marine Museum occur on a daily basis and last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. One of the best features of the educational opportunities at the Lake Superior Marine Museum is that every educational program is completely free of charge, even large group or school tours. It should be noted that some of the educational programs at the Lake Superior Marine Museum, like the specially guided tours, require visitors to call ahead to reserve their seat or group. Here are a few examples of the educational opportunities at the Lake Superior Marine Museum!

Who’s in Charge is a program geared towards children in kindergarten through third grade. In this program, participants will learn about what working on a ship that sails the Great Lakes is like.

Up & Down the Soo Locks utilizes a combination of story-telling, models, maps, and a film to explore how ships pass through the Soo Locks to enter or leave Lake Superior.

Pier History Tour is offered from May to September, and gives visitors the opportunity to explore the exterior of the Lake Superior Marine Museum. Participants are led by a specially trained ranger, who details historic events and stories of the pier and surrounding area of Lake Superior.

Cell Phone Tour is a unique and innovative way for visitors to explore the Lake Superior Marine Museum. To explore the Cell Phone Tour, visitors have to dial 218-213-9069, then follow the instructions. It should be noted that standard usage rates apply to the Cell Phone Tour.

After touring the Lake Superior Marine Museum, head over to the on-site Museum Gift Shop to explore the various souvenirs the shop has to offer. Inside the Museum Gift Shop, visitors can sort through various souvenirs, such as books, drinkware, and maps. Visitors can even pick up a t-shirt or baseball cap to remember their trip to the Lake Superior Marine Museum, and the Lake Superior area in general.

Lake Superior Marine Museum Association members receive a 10% discount on every purchase from the Museum Gift Shop. For more information about the Museum Gift Shop and the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, head over to the Museum’s website.

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600 South Lake Avenue, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-720-5260

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