Explore the heritage above and beneath the waves in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. With almost 100 shipwreck stories to discover, our sanctuary is a hot spot for historical and archaeological research. We protect and preserve our unique Great Lakes maritime cultural heritage.

A diver inspects a shipwreck


The shipwrecks of Thunder Bay constitute a microcosm of the Great Lakes commercial shipping industry spanning the last two hundred years, reflecting transitions in both ship architecture and construction.

Black and white photo of a large ship

Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Collection Archive

Managed through a partnership with the Alpena County George M. Fletcher Public Library, the archive is a large and unique public collection dedicated to Great Lakes maritime history. Much of the collection is accessible through a free online digital database. .

display cases in a museum

Artifact Collection

View historical objects on display that visually tell Michigan’s maritime story. Artifacts are on display in the conservation lab and throughout the exhibits at the sanctuary’s visitor center in Alpena.