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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  • 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
    195 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
    223 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
  • TK S
    Hudson, Illinois272 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommend!
    I have to start this off by commending the staff at the gift shop and the museum entrance desk! Try are pleasant, informative, and very welcoming to the museum and Sturgeon Bay area. When arrived in town on 5/31 this was a stop we made first off because we had items to donate to the museum. The curator and others seemed very happy to receive my husband's 50 year old US Coast Guard uniforms. We wanted to have ample time to checkout the entire museum and it was late in day. We should have done the museum before checking out Door County because the museum offers history of the entire area, not just the maritime history. We enjoyed the entire museum immensely on 6/3. All of the areas were done very nicely and we especially enjoyed all the interactive areas. The Sturgeon Bay area and Door County have a lot to be proud of here.
    Visited June 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 3, 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 bubbles452 reviews
Excellent
264
Very good
150
Average
23
Poor
7
Terrible
8

smcdaniel
Ariton, AL567 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
Not at all what was represented. I have researched our trip to Sturgeon Bay and was excited to see the museum and tower. However, when we entered the museum, the receptionist took our money and said to visit the first and second floors. I was confused but didn't ask questions. When we finished, I asked about the John Purvis Tugboat. She told us that they were working on the concrete in front of it and we couldn't access it. There was never anything mentioned about visiting the tower. I've just reviewed the website and it doesn't say anything about an admission cost for the tower so I assume that it's part of the museum admission. Here is what the website says " Now, the Museum is expanding our main location with the landmark Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower."

The receptionist was less than friendly and completely unhelpful. The fact that this very important fact was not presented to us is totally unacceptable. The museum was OK but I wouldn't spend $10/pp to go back. I feel that I'm an owed an explanation from the director.
Written May 11, 2021
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.

Grmabear
Waupaca, WI198 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
The museum was interesting and the views from the observation deck were nice. The highlight of the museum was definitely touring the tugboat John Purves. Unfortunately the young man at the desk told us there would be a few steps when in reality there are a lot of steep, narrow steps and my husband struggled with those (should probably tell people before they buy a ticket and not when the tour has started). The volunteer doing the tour did an excellent job and knew a lot about the tugboat. We were there over 2 hours.
Written August 2, 2021
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.

Mike C
Milwaukee18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
A must see! The museum is a great experience for families to share the mysteries and history of the area. The new tower is an amazing view and if you are lucky enough to see a sunrise or sunset, you’ll be singing the song from Fiddler on the roof! My parents are local and passionate about the mission of the museum and have been active volunteers for over 17+ years. The events the museum has throughout the year are well attended many folks return year after year. Enjoy your visit! You are going to be surprised! Check out the Maritime webcam online!
Written October 15, 2021
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.

Laurel M
8 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Couples
Lots of different types of informative exhibits, and a great mix of photos and literature vs. artifacts vs. mini replicas vs. videos vs. interactive exhibits. Gift shop is also very good and it was very clean and well maintained. The only things that prevent me from giving an excellent rating are 1) signage leading to the museum from the main drag is poor - we found it by luck and perseverance; 2) I have to compare it a bit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum not too far away in Manitowoc - and what Manitowoc has that this one lacks is an actual guided tour of a retired military vessel.
Written September 10, 2020
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.

amarh725
Spooner, WI144 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Family
My son is a ship enthusiast and won't pass any opportunity to learn more about them and to see any historical boats. He was thrilled to see the tug boat inside and out. Our guide was a very nice and knowledgeable Phil. The museum was full of interesting artifacts and historical stories about shipa and shipwrecks.
Written August 30, 2020
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.

rkh32018
83 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
I was very impressed with the Door County Maritime Museum. When you get in, you are grouped with about 10 others and start out on the 1st floor of the tower to watch a movie which gives you an overview of the museum, history, etc. Then you board an elevator which takes you to the 10th floor and the Observatory. The observatory has beautiful views of the harbor and surrounding area. The 10th floor has information on what you are looking at from each view through a touch screen map - this was very well done. It is expected that you will be about 20 minutes at each level, and then move yourself by the stairs downward to each floor (2 floors were not open.) Each floor has a theme such a navigation, shipwrecks etc. Each floor was very well done. The main floor also had 2 huge exhibits about Door County maritime, boats, etc. Both rooms were very extensive and overwhelming but for those who are interested, very educational. We were there about 3 hours and it was definitely worth it.
Written September 25, 2022
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.

Cynthia/ashley K
Jackson, United States15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
Our family visited the museum and started by going up in the tower. There is an elevator so no worries about steps.The upper level observation deck was closed but there was plenty to see in the harbor below. Lots of windows to see the boats and Lake Michigan. Inside the museum you can steer a ship, look into a periscope, and participate in a tree raffle if you want. At this time of year they have it decked out with holiday trimming and Xmas trees. Some of these trees come with gifts and are worth quite a lot if you win one There is much to view in the museum and you can learn a lot about ships that have sailed and some that have floundered in the Great Lakes.It's an interactive museum in some areas which is fun.
Written December 6, 2021
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.

Beatriz121
Wisconsin893 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
We made a return visit to the Maritime Museum because I especially wanted to see the views from the new tower. A short video prior to taking the elevator up to the top provides a nice introduction. Once in the tower, the view is wonderful but since we visited on an extremely cold day, we didn't have the benefit of seeing a lot of action that would be happening during the summer.

A very realistic, interactive display allows visitors to pilot a boat through the channel using a large ship wheel. Veering off course causes the ship to crash. Along the journey, you hear the radio calls and the Sturgeon Bay bridges open up so that you can pass through. As adults, we had a blast. I'm sure kids would be thrilled to have the experience.

In the tiny workshop, four men were working on a new shiplap boat that will eventually be raffled off. They were very generous with their time, answered a lot of my questions, and even pulled out pictures of past creations.

As seniors, the $10 admission fee was certainly reasonable.
Written February 6, 2022
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.

Julie K
2 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Family
At the Maritime Museum, we watched a good introductory movie with beautiful photos from around the county, then up to the observation deck on the top of the tower. There were nice interactive touch screens with more in depth info about places in the surrounding views. The other stories of the building house a variety of topics: ship wrecks, lighthouses, boat building, etc. It’s a new museum so they are still in the process of getting the exhibits put together, so it will even get better! Our favorite parts were: (Emily) models and interactiveness, (Ruby) the buttons that you pressed that showed the lighthouses and how far the light can be seen, (Leah) the simulation of a boat that you get to steer through the canal and under the bridge, (Ben) the models of the boats, (Jen) the observation tower. Our party ranged from 10 to 81 years old. We were there for 2 1/2 hours.
Written June 4, 2021
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.

mjs_new
Marinette, WI9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Family
We had visited this quaint museum more than a decade ago. We were pleasantly surprised at the ten-story addition with an observation deck on top. While we did enjoy the presentation and got to go up the elevator to walk around the observation deck, levels 2 through 9 of the tower are still under construction. No worries though as there is plenty to explore on the first and second floors of the main building. A great history of the area. Our family of three spent about an hour or so total. Very reasonable cost and a nice gift shop, too.
Written May 25, 2021
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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