Opened in 2014, the National Museum of the Great Lakes features a museum, the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship, and a maritime park along the waterfront. It is operated by the Great Lakes Historical Society, which was established in 1944. The museum's exhibits explore the various aspects of Great Lakes history including exploration and settlement, industry, shipwrecks, lighthouses, and maritime technology.
Built in 1911, the Schoomaker is a former lake freighter that transported coal, iron ore, and grain for much of the 20th century. Guided and self-guided tours are available on the ship. The city bought the Schoonmaker in 1987.