Maritime Museum Announces Maritime Speaker Series Lineup

The Maritime Speaker Series returns to the Door County Maritime Museum for the 2017-2018 season. This year boasts an impressive lineup of speakers to educate and entertain maritime enthusiasts. The series runs the first Thursday of each month.

On Dec. 7, retired Captain Robert “Bob” Desh of the U.S. Coast Guard will speak on the history of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. A longtime maritime and Coast Guard history buff, Desh is the former executive director of the Door County Maritime Museum. Join Desh as he explores the history and influence of the Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan Ship Canal.

Model boat builder Larry Herbst will speak Jan. 4, 2018 about how to build model ships and what goes into it. He’ll discuss how to construct a hull – using a minesweeper to make his points – and explain how detailing is the most time-consuming and difficult part of model shipbuilding. Herbst grew up in a household of model boat builders where he was mentored by his father, Bill Herbst. Since 1975, Larry and his brother Terry have made about 40 models for shipyards on the Gulf Coast, fisheries on the West Coast, Alaskan shipping companies, jet fuel shipping companies, Marinette Marine, the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum, and the Door County Maritime Museum.

George Oram, born in Sturgeon Bay, will speak about life on the Great Lakes on Feb. 1. He has been sailing on ore boats and freighters all his adult life. Wilford Sykes, Elton Hoyt, Joseph Block, Adam Cornelius, and Edward Ryerson are just a few of the ships he has called home. Oram will explain what life is like living aboard a ship for months at a time.

On March 1, Barb and Ken Wardius will speak on Door County lighthouses. They have authored four excellent books on lighthouses and lead lighthouse tours. These sought-after lighthouse lecturers offer presentations that reflect their lighthouse books. During their presentation, all of the county’s lighthouses will be featured, with special emphasis on Cana Island.

Paul Schumacher serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands (FOPPI). He will speak April 5 about the restoration of Plum and Pilot Islands. Schumacher, a retired professional engineer, is active with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in leading projects to restore maritime structures on Plum and Pilot Islands. He will describe the history of Plum and Pilot Islands, the shipwrecks around the islands, and the USFWS and FOPPI efforts to restore the historic Coast Guard buildings on both islands.

The Door County Maritime Museum holds their Maritime Speaker Series on Thursday nights at 7 pm. The Door County Maritime Museum is located at 120 N Madison Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. The programs are free, but a non-perishable food donation is requested. For more information, visit or call 920.743.5958.

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