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Wisconsin Maritime Museum: by William Thiesen

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ounded rhirty-five years ago, rhe Wisconsin Maririme Museum was one of rhe firsr museums of irs kind established in the Great Lakes, and it still ranks as one of the largest maritime museums in the Midwest. This instirution has seen well over one million visitors pass through its doors, and it has won several stare and national awards for excellence for irs exhibi ts and educational programs. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a recognized leader in its field, wirh one of the finest collections of archival and artifact ual maritime marerials on rhe Great Lakes. This includes the National Historic Landmark, USS Cobia, rhe nation's most completely restored World War II submarine. The museum also hosts rhe narion's longest-running annual model contest, the Midwestern Model Ship Contest, and a nationally recognized Submarine Overnight Program. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum's primary mission is to educare rhe public abour rhe maritime history of W isconsin (right) 7his image, from the museum's archives, depicts the winter of 1891. Skaters glide across the Manitowoc River near the docks of Goodrich Transportation. Today, the museum occupies the former location of Goodrich's dock. (below) Manitowoc, Wisconsin, hometown of the museum, is situated midway up the western shore ofLake Michigan.

With the new facility, completed in 2003, the museum created the state-of the-art "Children's Wtzterways Room, " an interactive watercourse model of the Great Lakes and locks system. Children can navigate vessels along the mock-up locks system from one lake to another. and the Great Lakes. In order to accomplish chis, rhe museum offers a wide array of programs, events, and activities. On

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average the museum sees 50,000 visitors pass thro ugh its gates every year. Of these, well over 3,000 are students of all ages that visit from over 120 different schools. Seventy-five percent of rhese kids travel to the museum from outside of the local area. The museum also hosts one of the nation's most successful overnight sleep-over programs. Tided the "Cobia Overnight Program," the program draws kids from as far away as Missouri to sray onboard rhe submarine for an evening. This program will have an arcendance of abour 4,000 kids and their chaperones in 2005. W irh the opening of the new museum faciliry to rhe public in 2003, its ability to hose and run education program s has grown exponentially. The new faci lity supports a state-of-the-art compurerized classroom space called the "Learning Adventure Center." Many of the museum's 15 different educational programs make use of this facility or museum exhibits, such as the USS Cobia or the C hildren's Waterways Room. These maritime history and lake ecology programs include "A Sailo r's Life," "Fishy Friends," and "Shipbuilding on the Great Lakes." In addition to school programs, rhe museum supports summer school programs and a Saturday afternoon lecture series during the fall and winter months. Lasrly, the museum has a fu ll schedule of weekend activities

US GEOLOGICAL SU RVEY MAP

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