The year 2019 brings a milestone anniversary for not just one but two of Northeastern Wisconsin’s most treasured cultural institutions. Both the Door County Maritime Museum (DCMM) and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (WMM) were founded in 1969, meaning both museums are celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year.

To commemorate their “Golden” birthdays, the two museums are joining forces to offer a “Golden Ticket” joint membership in each institution. For a $100 donation for an individual or $160 for a family membership, contributors will receive full membership privileges in both museums for 12 months, along with a special 50th anniversary commemorative membership card that provides free admission to both museums. Golden Ticket joint memberships can be purchased at either institution and are good for new memberships only.

“Fifty years ago two different groups of people in Northeast Wisconsin made bold decisions to ensure our areas maritime history was preserved for generations to come,” said DCMM Executive Director Kevin Osgood. “We’re certainly excited about the Door County Maritime Museum joining with the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in offering this special opportunity to celebrate those efforts and our unique Northeast Wisconsin maritime legacy.”   

“Water connects us all,” says Cathy Green, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. “The stories of those maritime connections have been told for fifty years at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and the Door County Maritime Museum. We hope this collaboration inspires visitors to explore both of our museums, celebrating our past and exploring the future of our communities, our waterways, and our maritime connections.”

Opening Monday, February 4, 2019, “The Water Defines Us: DCMM@50” is a new exhibit at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay that celebrates the half-century of maritime preservation and education that the people of Door County have made possible. The exhibit traces the journey of the museum from its early roots in northern Door County, as a small group of dedicated men and women pursued a simple vision to commemorate the maritime and fishing culture of the area. The museum – and the vision of its leaders – continued to grow to eventually encompass two museum locations, the Cana Island lighthouse and the restoration of the Tug John Purves.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is presenting a suite of over 90 events this year – from movie screenings and shipwreck lectures to exhibit openings and science clubs. The Ladies of the Lake exhibit on Wisconsin’s women and their influence on maritime culture opens March 2nd, and the museum’s annual summer submarine celebration SubFest is scheduled for July 12-14. Additionally, the museum in Manitowoc is honored to host two important gatherings this year: the annual conferences of the Council of American Maritime Museums in April and the Historic Naval Ships Association in September.

The Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc. preserves Great Lakes maritime history, primarily focusing on Door County, Wisconsin, and provides interpretive and educational opportunities for current and future generations. The Museum operates three locations, including the Door County Maritime Museum along the working waterfront in Sturgeon Bay; the iconic Cana Island Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor; and the Death’s Door Maritime Museum in Gills Rock. As one of northeast Wisconsin’s top tourism destinations, attracting more than 65,000 visitors annually, the Door County Maritime Museum serves as a resource for all 72 counties in Wisconsin. For more information, please visit or call (920) 743-5958.

Founded in 1970 as the Manitowoc Submarine Memorial Association, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum has grown into one of the largest maritime museums in the Midwest. In addition to commemorating the maritime heritage of the Manitowoc-Two Rivers area and the submarines built here during World War II, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is now a leader in preserving the maritime history of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. For more information, please visit or call (920) 684-0218.