Second Wave Progress Report

Second Wave Construction is Officially Underway

We are thrilled to share that construction for the Second Wave expansion of the National Museum of the Great Lakes has officially begun. Partnering with The Lathrop Company as our contractors, we are currently wrapping up the demolition phase.

Construction Status Update

  • Site Demolition: The crew started by tearing up the sidewalks and pavers along the side and back of the museum’s exhibit building. This includes the access drive next to the John Sherwin propeller, which will serve as the permanent access for the fire department and the new structure.
  • Preparing the Surface: The crew has established the building pad, creating a nice surface to work from and using stone to hold trucks.
  • Cast-in-Place Concrete Foundation: Once the demolition is complete, their team will begin drilling for the foundation since we’re so close to the water. This involves a 2-foot-wide, cast-in-place concrete foundation. Following this, the shallow foundation will be laid on top, and then the structure will start to rise.
Propeller with access driveway

Location of new permanent access drive (which will be paved before site opening).

construction crews on site

Crews during demolition process, breaking up pavement and walkways on the sides and back of the exhibit building.

Demolition before foundation is laid

Completed demolition on the back of the building, awaiting first layer of cast concrete foundation.

Welcoming Our Second Wave

We’re thrilled to open a new 5,000-square-foot addition to the museum, anchored by the storied pilothouse of the St. Mary’s Challenger. This expansion will not only enhance accessibility but also bring about:

  • Dedicated areas for temporary and traveling exhibits
  • Brand new permanent exhibit spaces
  • A warm and inviting community education center

Our mission is to preserve and make known the rich history of the Great Lakes, with a vision to become the gathering place for all Great Lakes conversations. Our expansion is a pivotal step in that direction.

Ellen Kennedy, Director of Museum Operations, expressed her excitement: “We are thrilled that construction is underway and we’re one step closer to opening the doors to our expanded space.”

Please note that we are fully open during construction. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding regarding any dust and noise during this time.

There’s still time to get involved with our Second Wave. You can make a donation right here and join us as we create a space where curation meets conversation, and help us bring this vision to life.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue this exciting journey!


Thank you for your continued support of the National Museum of the Great Lakes. We look forward to welcoming you to our enhanced and expanded museum soon!