Door County Maritime Museum

Door County Maritime Museum

Door County Maritime Museum
4.5
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Where Great Lakes maritime history comes alive! Located along Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront, the Door County Maritime Museum showcases the area’s rich maritime roots. The museum features several interactive exhibits, as well as tours of the immaculately restored seagoing tugboat John Purves. Hard-working fishermen, brave ship captains, skilled craftsmen, bold inventors and lonely lighthouse keepers are just some of the personalities you’ll discover in the galleries of the museum.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • MomRocco
    Chicago, Illinois533 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good Museum - Pay for the Tour of the Tug
    The tour of the tug was the highlight of our visit. Our guide, Paul, was very knowledgeable. OUr tour group of 13 was too large for the space inside the boat and impacted the quality of the tour. There were also a couple in the group who kept lagging behind and at one point we had to wait 5 minutes for them to rejoin the tour. The museum itself was just ok. The movie we had to view before getting in the elevator to take us to the top of the museum was okay, but not as professionally done as I expected. Staff at the admissions desk seemed not to know what they were doing. I'm pretty sure that at least 2 people on the tug tour did not buy tickets for it. There should have been restrooms available on at least 1 of the 10 floors of the museum instead of them all being located on the first floor.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 15, 2023
  • johnsonevv
    Lawrence, Kansas115 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful museum
    What an engaging museum. The tenth floor observation deck gives un rivaled views. Each of the floors features a different aspect of the area or marine history. There are some interactive displays. It’s not overwhelming but you could spend hours there. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 18, 2023
  • Gueary C
    5 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Door County In July!
    We went to Door County, Wisconsin in July. We stayed at the Edge Water BnB Inn in Algoma, Wisconsin. The inn is right on Lake Michigan. The rooms were nice and the breakfast was very good! Being from Florida, I really enjoyed the cool breeze I experienced at night coming off the lake. I awoke at 5:30 am and witnessed the sun coming over the lake and it was beautiful. Our hosts, David, and Karla made breakfast so enjoyable, and being there gave us the opportunity to meet people around the breakfast table. This inn is in a small town and about 16 miles from where the tourist attractions begin. The inn is not a luxurious place, but well kept and worth checking into!
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 6, 2023
  • Jan D
    Sugar Grove, Illinois78 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Went for the View...and Learned a Lot of History
    A very well done museum! This is how it goes: First a brief film to acquaint you with Door County's history. Then they whisk you up 10 stories to see a beautiful view of Sturgeon Bay. Then you descend floor by floor at your leisure. Each floor represents a different segment of Door's history. Every one of the floors are interesting. When you reach bottom...don't miss the display rooms on either side of the entrance hall. Went there for the view and was more than pleasantly surprised with this well thought out museum. You could spend an hour here...or you could spend a day!
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 6, 2023
  • Susan LPT
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa82 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    GREAT day! Fun without sweets and expensive shopping (Adults will want 4hrs + and Kids 14 & under prob won’t last >2.5)
    Rainy day was busy but well worth it! Girls Trip and the 3rd rainy day on the peninsula, so we drove down to the museum for indoor activity. We had already seen 2 lighthouses and this would extend our explorations without the rain. Tour was sold out for the Tugboat by time we got there at 1:30 PM. We had a 2.5 hr wait to get a ticket to the tower. We were only budgeting 2 hrs at the museum based on Google saying 1.5-2 hrs, so that was a shock. We didn’t realize there was any timed entry aspects or multiple parts to the inside of this Sturgeon Bay location. We spent 1.75 hrs on main exhibits between the two first floor galleries and first two second floor galleries. (One of the three could have done it in 1 hr; another of the three could have taken easily 2.5+ hrs!) Someone didn’t want to wait for their tower tour time, so we got to do the tower after 1.25 hrs wait, instead of 2.5hr wait for timed entry. Took us a hurried 1.5 hrs to work our way down the tower, (I could EASILY have had 2-3 hrs to come down) as the museum was closing. You CAN get there early in the day, pick your entrance time for the tower, see the main museum, then go to lunch and come back. Or just come back and do all after your entrance to the tower. Don’t miss spending at least SOME time here!! Even if you have to come back, it is VERY well done. And the new portion (tower) was fantastic!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 15, 2023
  • Cassandra H
    16 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lookout and History
    Museum was great.. had some interactive experiences, lots of ship models, and cool lighthouse displays. The only thing we weren’t expecting is they assign you a time to go to the lookout and see the upper floor exhibit. Only the bottom two floors are accessible upon arrival.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 24, 2023
  • LauraJean
    DeKalb, Illinois222 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the trip
    Excellent and comprehensive museum. It’s mostly in the tower, which has stunning views from the top floor and the deck. Each floor has a theme, so you can focus on your interests. There are a couple of excellent exhibits on the ground floor as well, along with a fine museum store. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Worth a trip.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 15, 2023
  • DocAdvil
    187 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very Good Museum Staffed by Passionate People
    This is a fine museum dedicated to maritime interests in Door County. The staff is very enthusiastic about the topic, and it shows. The best feature is the tugboat tour, but the museum (located in a 10 story tower) is interesting as well. Well worth a visit. The gift shop is good too.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 9, 2023
  • JJT
    217 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    High quality, enjoyable museum
    This is a wonderful museum on the Sturgeon Bay waterfront that educates the visitors about boats, ships, and lighthouses, and the people who’ve built and operated them through the years. We toured the new tower first (with great views from the top), and then the older section with the wonderful boat exhibits, beautiful mural, videos, and interactive displays about the many shipwrecks and how to operate a boat safely and competently. Right before they closed we bought a T-shirt in the nice gift shop, where the friendly employee told us we could come back the next morning for the tugboat tour. We did, and the competent tour guide (who had been a boat operator himself) showed us the 149-foot John Purves Tugboat that had been restored after being built in 1919 and traveling long distances in dangerous waters. Usually seeing only small tugboats in the Savannah River, we were amazed that this very large one was designed for a 13-man crew for long trips and had private bedrooms and bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a large engine room. (We read recently on the website that this tugboat is being repaired and will be open for guests again May 1.) This is a high quality museum, and we enjoyed our time there!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written February 28, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles451 reviews
Excellent
263
Very good
150
Average
23
Poor
7
Terrible
8

JJT
217 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
This is a wonderful museum on the Sturgeon Bay waterfront that educates the visitors about boats, ships, and lighthouses, and the people who’ve built and operated them through the years. We toured the new tower first (with great views from the top), and then the older section with the wonderful boat exhibits, beautiful mural, videos, and interactive displays about the many shipwrecks and how to operate a boat safely and competently. Right before they closed we bought a T-shirt in the nice gift shop, where the friendly employee told us we could come back the next morning for the tugboat tour. We did, and the competent tour guide (who had been a boat operator himself) showed us the 149-foot John Purves Tugboat that had been restored after being built in 1919 and traveling long distances in dangerous waters. Usually seeing only small tugboats in the Savannah River, we were amazed that this very large one was designed for a 13-man crew for long trips and had private bedrooms and bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a large engine room. (We read recently on the website that this tugboat is being repaired and will be open for guests again May 1.) This is a high quality museum, and we enjoyed our time there!
Written February 28, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jean B
Sheboyan35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
We were pleasantly surprised by this museum. Exhibits were well done, and the volunteer guide was friendly and knowledgeable. The view of Stugeon Bay from the 10th floor was gorgeous. We have been visiting Door County for decades, but we have finally learned about the history of the area. We were amazed by the number of ships built during WWII and glad ship building continues in this beautiful locale.
Written November 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DocAdvil
Nashville,Tn187 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
This is a fine museum dedicated to maritime interests in Door County. The staff is very enthusiastic about the topic, and it shows. The best feature is the tugboat tour, but the museum (located in a 10 story tower) is interesting as well. Well worth a visit. The gift shop is good too.
Written October 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LauraJean
DeKalb, IL222 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Couples
Excellent and comprehensive museum. It’s mostly in the tower, which has stunning views from the top floor and the deck. Each floor has a theme, so you can focus on your interests. There are a couple of excellent exhibits on the ground floor as well, along with a fine museum store. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Worth a trip.
Written September 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cassandra H
16 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Museum was great.. had some interactive experiences, lots of ship models, and cool lighthouse displays. The only thing we weren’t expecting is they assign you a time to go to the lookout and see the upper floor exhibit. Only the bottom two floors are accessible upon arrival.
Written August 24, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Susan LPT
Cedar Rapids, IA82 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Friends
Rainy day was busy but well worth it!
Girls Trip and the 3rd rainy day on the peninsula, so we drove down to the museum for indoor activity. We had already seen 2 lighthouses and this would extend our explorations without the rain.

Tour was sold out for the Tugboat by time we got there at 1:30 PM. We had a 2.5 hr wait to get a ticket to the tower. We were only budgeting 2 hrs at the museum based on Google saying 1.5-2 hrs, so that was a shock. We didn’t realize there was any timed entry aspects or multiple parts to the inside of this Sturgeon Bay location. We spent 1.75 hrs on main exhibits between the two first floor galleries and first two second floor galleries. (One of the three could have done it in 1 hr; another of the three could have taken easily 2.5+ hrs!)

Someone didn’t want to wait for their tower tour time, so we got to do the tower after 1.25 hrs wait, instead of 2.5hr wait for timed entry.
Took us a hurried 1.5 hrs to work our way down the tower, (I could EASILY have had 2-3 hrs to come down) as the museum was closing.

You CAN get there early in the day, pick your entrance time for the tower, see the main museum, then go to lunch and come back. Or just come back and do all after your entrance to the tower.

Don’t miss spending at least SOME time here!! Even if you have to come back, it is VERY well done. And the new portion (tower) was fantastic!
Written August 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

VandyJo
Middleton, WI156 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
My family and I visited this museum in 1997, shortly after it opened. Accompanied by our son, now grown, his wife, and two daughters, 7 and 4, my wife and I took in the 2023 edition of the museum. What an amazing change!

The exhibits on the first two floors, as well as those in the tower wing, are state-of-the art. The pilot house of the "Elba" alone provided entertainment for our would-be junior skippers trying to "navigate" a canal simulation.

The view from the new 10-story tower is awe-inspiring. This experience is attained via an elevator following an informative video on the history of Door County.

Once you've taken in the views and photographed the scenery, you descend floor-by-floor via stairs to engaging, hands-on exhibits on geology, industry, indigenous culture, shipbuilding, lake ecology, and much more.

Each floor is exceptional. The surprise one is on Great Lakes shipwrecks. Try to survive a storm at sea, if you dare.

The only issue was the lack of a docent for our little ones' highly anticipated tour of the tugboat. Sad faces all around when we couldn't "ship out."

Shout out here as the importance of volunteers in providing quality experiences at zoos, museums, and tourist attractions. When they are missing, negativity can ensue.

That being said, if you want a professionally researched and thoroughly engaging overview of Door County, this is a must stop.
Written August 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jan D
Sugar Grove, IL78 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023
A very well done museum! This is how it goes: First a brief film to acquaint you with Door County's history. Then they whisk you up 10 stories to see a beautiful view of Sturgeon Bay. Then you descend floor by floor at your leisure. Each floor represents a different segment of Door's history. Every one of the floors are interesting. When you reach bottom...don't miss the display rooms on either side of the entrance hall. Went there for the view and was more than pleasantly surprised with this well thought out museum. You could spend an hour here...or you could spend a day!
Written August 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gueary C
5 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023
We went to Door County, Wisconsin in July. We stayed at the Edge Water BnB Inn in Algoma, Wisconsin. The inn is right on Lake Michigan. The rooms were nice and the breakfast was very good! Being from Florida, I really enjoyed the cool breeze I experienced at night coming off the lake. I awoke at 5:30 am and witnessed the sun coming over the lake and it was beautiful. Our hosts, David, and Karla made breakfast so enjoyable, and being there gave us the opportunity to meet people around the breakfast table. This inn is in a small town and about 16 miles from where the tourist attractions begin. The inn is not a luxurious place, but well kept and worth checking into!
Written August 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Adam R
Fargo, ND7 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
The main lady that thinks she owns it is a old bag and should just retire. It barely sprinkled and she closed the top observation deck until the next day. She claimed to not have change for a $100 bill when the guy behind her was counting his $20’s in his till. I wouldn’t waste your money going here. Go to the sister bay scenic boat tour instead. Way better
Written July 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Door County Maritime Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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