Scope Of Collection

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum collects shipwreck artifacts, historic vessels, prints, photographs, archival materials, manuscripts, blueprints, paintings, and other artifacts related to the maritime history of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin’s World War II submarines and USS Cobia.

Home to over 85,000 historic artifacts, photographs, works of art, and documents, the Museum preserves the maritime history of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region from the initial settlement of American Indians to today. Through our collection, we document the lives and stories of all who called the Great Lakes home.

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum also acts as an official repository for retrieved submerged cultural resources (shipwreck materials).


The Wisconsin Maritime Museum’s collection includes 10,000 three-dimensional objects. This includes whole vessels, artifacts recovered from the sites of shipwrecks, naval uniforms and WWII paraphernalia, objects from Manitowoc built submarines, model ships and boats, and works of art.


The museum’s archives contain over 600 linear feet of manuscript materials and contains a wealth of primary source documents, records, and personal papers. The archives are comprised of records and memorabilia from Great Lakes shipping and transportation companies, personal papers and diaries of sailors, captains and submariners, blueprints and ship’s plans, maps and charts, and ship’s logs. 


The Wisconsin Maritime Museum has an extensive collection of photographs and prints including photographs documenting the history of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company and photographs compiled by Great Lakes ship captain and Manitowoc native Edward Carus.


The Wisconsin Maritime Museum maintains an extensive periodical collection related to maritime and naval history that is available for browsing and research by appointment.

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CollectionsScope of Collections