Door County Maritime Museum - Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Maritime Speaker Series

The Maritime Speaker Series offers an assortment of monthly programs dealing with everything from historical topics to current issues affecting the Great Lakes and the economy that relies on it. The programs are held the first Thursday of each month November through April beginning at 7:00 pm at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay.

UP NEXT – “The Sinking of the Half-Moon
March 7, 2019

The Maritime Speaker Series at the Door County Maritime Museum (DCMM) continues on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 7pm. Rhys Kuzdas, DCMM Curator and Exhibits Manager, will preview his presentation for the upcoming Council of American Maritime Museums conference on the sinking of Leathem D. Smith’s yacht, the Half-Moon, which sank off the coast of Door County in 1946. Of those aboard, only Smith’s daughter Patsy would survive the sudden gale that consumed her remaining family.

The presentation charts the events leading up to, during, and after the death of a magnate of maritime industry and a rising political star. Leathem D. Smith’s was one of the most influential shipbuilding companies on the Great Lakes; when he died, the company he built also perished. The now mostly forgotten tragedy shocked the nation for a moment, but ultimately redefined the local community for generations. FIND OUT MORE


2018/2019 Schedule:

November 2, 2018 Todd Gordon Speaks about the SS Eastland
December 6, 2018 Frederick Stonehouse, “US Life-Saving Service on the Great Lakes”
January 3, 2019 Patrick Forsyth, “Great Lakes Fish”
February 25, 2019 Jake Heffernan, “Lighthouses of Door County”
March 7, 2019 Rys Kuzdas, “Sinking of the Half-Moon”
April 4, 2019 Paul J Mason, “Great Lakes Lighthouse Tenders”

Visit our calendar for speakers and dates

We’re on TV!

See videos of our Maritime Speaker Series on Public Access Cable TV!  Selected presentations in the series will be recorded and added to the Sturgeon Bay Public Access TV Online. We will also post the links here:

The Grand Traverse Islands: Our Next National Lakeshore?

February 16, 2016

John Bacon, Chair of the Friends of the Grand Traverse Islands. A presentation on this unique area – stretching from Door County, Wisconsin, to Upper Michigan’s Garden Peninsula – and the reasons for protecting it through the creation of a national park.

Richard Purinton

November 29, 2011

Richard Purinton, who serves as the CEO for the family-run Washington Island Ferry Line, will present a program about life on Washington Island during the winter months.

Plum & Pilot Island

March 3, 2011

Tim Sweet, of the Friends of Plum & Pilot Islands, discusses current preservation efforts.


February 3, 2011

Umberto Vianello, Chief Engineering Officer for Fincantieri, presents an overview of one of the world’s largest shipbuilders and its anticipated impact on Wisconsin Shipbuilders.

Guardians of the Inland Sea

January 5, 2011

Guardians of the Inland Sea: Bob Desh gives a brief history of the U.S. Coast Guard on the Great Lakes.