Sturgeon Bay, Wis. (January 12, 2024) – Each Fall, Winter and Spring, the Door County Maritime Museum hosts experts and interesting characters from around the country for the Maritime Speaker Series (presented in partnership with series sponsor the Door County Medical Center). The Maritime Speaker Series offers an assortment of monthly programs – from historical topics to current issues affecting the Great Lakes and the economy that relies on them.
The next presentation of the 2023-2024 Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series will be held both in person and online on Thursday, February 1 at 7pm, featuring Native Canoes in Wisconsin, presented by Sissel Schroeder (UW-Madison) and Tamara Thomsen (Wisconsin Historical Society, invited).
When the Wisconsin Dugout Canoe Survey project started in 2018, 11 dugout canoes were documented in Wisconsin ranging in age from about 150 years old to a fragment from Kenosha County that is 1,850 years old. By February 2023, there were 68 reports of dugouts in the state (research has confirmed and documented 52 of them) that extend back 4,000 years – now the oldest known “shipwrecks” in the Great Lakes region. This puts Wisconsin second in eastern North America for the number of reported dugout canoes, after Florida where more than 200 dugouts are known. The Wisconsin sample of dugouts has two of the ten oldest dugouts in eastern North America that range between 4,000 and 6,000 years old.
The goals of the Wisconsin Dugout Canoe Survey include: locating, identifying, and documenting dugouts across the state; measuring and describing the dugouts to compare size and form; using modern technology to develop 3D models of each dugout that will make them broadly accessible; determining the type of wood used to make the dugout; determining the age of the dugout using historic records, evidence of manufacturing methods, and radiocarbon dates; and describing the condition of the dugout and how it is stored or presented to develop a set of best practices for the conservation, preservation, curation, and exhibition of this rare form of material culture.
Sissel Schroeder received her PhD from The Pennsylvania State University and is currently a Professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is also an affiliate of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the American Indian Studies Program, and the Material Culture Studies Program. Her current research is focused on issues of sociopolitical complexity and historical ecology among ancient Native American societies of the southeastern and midwestern United States.
Tamara Thomsen has worked as an underwater archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historical Society since 2004, when she took what was to be a temporary job. Since then, she has regularly explored Great Lakes shipwrecks, and between 2021 and 2022 found two ancient Ho-Chunk canoes in Lake Mendota.
More information, and a link to register for online presentations, is available here.
Remaining 2023-2024 Speaker Series Lineup
- March 7: Freshwater Fisheries, presented by Dr. Karen Murchie, Shedd Aquarium.
- April 4: Bridging the Gap: The History of the Sturgeon Bay Railroad Bridge , presented by Daniel Liedtke, National Railroad Museum
- May 2: Search for the Linda E, presented by Brennan Christianson, DCMM Collections Coordinator (rescheduled).
Additional in-kind support for the Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series is provided by Bridgeport Resort.
For questions about the Maritime Speaker Series, please email Andrea Stromeyer, Educational Programs Coordinator, at email@example.com.