December 20, 2017

Maritime Lighthouse Tower Project Moves Ahead with $2.5 Million

The Door County Maritime Museum’s Lighthouse Tower expansion project has successfully finished the first stage of fundraising for this inspiring multi-million-dollar initiative, bringing in more than $2.5 million in gifts and pledges. Expanding the museum means bringing more of the maritime story of Door County, Wisconsin, and Great Lakes alive. The overall project goal is to raise $5.5 million. 

Towers of many types have played an essential role in the maritime history of nation, the Great Lakes, Wisconsin and the Door Peninsula. Signal towers, watch towers and light towers may all be considered lighthouses and once were very prevalent along the nation’s coastlines. The new Maritime Lighthouse Tower will stand as a lasting tribute to the importance of the region’s rich maritime history. It also will be a unique and fun way of exploring the region’s rich heritage – with an impressive view.

“Our lighthouse tower committee has had the privilege of meeting with community groups, professional educators, governmental maritime executives, and forward-looking sponsors in order to complete the first stage of the fundraising program,” said William Harder, museum Board President. “We continue to receive feedback that individuals, foundations, community organizations, and professional maritime groups who learn the facts about the project are excited to be part of it, enjoy telling their friends and neighbors about it, and can’t wait to explore within its new walls.” 

In a glimpse of what will be built, on the first-floor visitors to the museum tower will view a video that helps explain Door County’s maritime history, meet their virtual museum guide and participate in an overview of the past as it evolves into the present. The next stop on the Lighthouse Tower tour means taking the elevator to the top. 

A panoramic view of the port of Sturgeon Bay on Floor 10 awaits visitors on the second stop on the tour. The virtual storytelling guide will explain the today’s regional maritime industries visible from the 10th indoor observation level, as well as sharing the history of the evolution of the port. Visitors will be able to experience days gone by when towering masts of schooners and the smoke of steamships filled the port. When weather permits, the 11th level observation deck will be open, similar to those found in lighthouses. From the deck, visitors can imagine what it might have been like to be a U.S. life-saving serviceman, standing vigil in the station’s watchtower searching for vessels in distress.   

The committee invites those who are experts in maritime history to partner with them as subject matter experts for planning and exhibits. To learn more about the project, visit the museum’s website at or call the museum at (920)743-5958.


Media contact:

Amy Paul

Executive Director

(920) 743-5958