The small fishing village of Gills Rock Wisconsin is a hidden gem located at the very tip of the Door County peninsula on the shores of Porte des Mortes (Deaths Door). The Deaths Door Maritime Museum traces the areas commercial fishing tradition. It boasts the wooden fishing tug Hope and a replica net shed complete with fishing boxes, net reel and other traditional fishing supplies. Visitors have the rare opportunity to explore, inside and out, the 45-foot wooden fishing boat. It was built in 1930 by Sturgeon Bay Boat Works and owned by the well-known Stanley Voight fishing family. A video of the tugs final fishing trip in 1992 is also part of the exhibit.
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The museum also features a shipwreck and scuba diving exhibit, artifacts brought up from the bottom of Lake Michigan and information on the area’s dangerous passage known as Death’s Door. Visitors can use a Lyle gun to rescue stranded mariners, and browse an area devoted to marine engines – including those built at Kahlenberg Brothers of Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Death’s Door may be famous for having lent its name to both the Door Peninsula and Door County, but this strait of water that passes between Washington Island to the north and the Door Peninsula to the south is rich in history and legend. The exhibit explores the origins of Ports des Morts, as it was referred to by French explorers, all the way back to the native American tribes and the legends associated with them. Some of the many shipwrecks which went down in the treacherous strait are explored as well as thrilling accounts of the hearty fishermen who regularly work its waters.
But there’s even more as our interactive technology, called Augmented Reality, assists in telling our stories. Using a tablet provided by the museum or your own personal smart phone, visitors will experience maritime history in a whole new way.
Download the Google Play Android App at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ddskiosk.gillsrock
Visitors to the Death’s Door Maritime Museum can also take a look at our brand new bronze sculpture. The sculpture, a tribute to commercial fishing in Northern Door, was created by Mary Ott Davidson and was unveiled in the summer of 2018.
Join us on this historic adventure in Gills Rock!
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