Icebound: The Ordeal of the S.S. Michigan

Icebound: The Ordeal of the S.S. Michigan

6:00 pm - 12:00 am

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Tri-Cities Historical Museum

Icebound:  The Ordeal of the S.S. Michigan

Icebound: The Ordeal of the SS Michigan

Coming Soon - January 11 - September 2019

The new exhibit Icebound will be coming to the Tri-Cities Historical Museum early in 2019. The exhibit comes to us from the Historic Ottawa Beach Society which is located near the ships final resting place.

In 1885, during one of the most brutal winters then recorded, a large steamship, the S.S. Michigan, became trapped in the pack ice on Lake Michigan. The Michigan had been sent on a rescue mission, during which it was attempting to reach another trapped ship and tow it to shore. After a 39-day battle with the frozen lake, the ship began taking on water and finally sank somewhere just off Holland, Michigan. The captain and all 25 crewmen were saved because of the heroics of one young man: George Sheldon, the ship’s porter.

A portion of the exhibit was designed by Valerie van Heest, and is based on her children’s book Icebound: The Adventures of Young George Sheldon and the S.S. Michigan. Valerie also illustrated the book and her drawings are used within the exhibit to help tell the story. She digitally created the illustrations by combining layers of historic and staged photographs, which she then enhanced, colorized and, in some cases, drew additional features.

Within the exhibit museum goers will be able to follow these artist’s chronological renderings, traveling back in time to learn about the adventures of young George Sheldon and the SS Michigan that took place just a few miles from Holland. One will be able to then journey underwater through pictures to see the actual steamship as it rests today on the bottom of Lake Michigan 18 miles off shore.

Artifacts from the museum’s own collection will augment the story of the S.S. Michigan. The exhibit will also explore other various Lake Michigan shipwrecks. Join us to learn how divers and archaeologists analyze wrecks searching for clues on what may have happened in the past. Come delve into the waters and discover the interesting history of the wreckage of the depths.

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