The museum houses a gallery containing scale models of boats and ships built in Sturgeon Bay, including half-hull or plating models. It also has an exhibit on the area's lighthouses, including a full-size replication of the lantern room of the Sherwood Point lighthouse.
A chronological history of shipbuilding begins here in mid 1800 with Indian dugouts and birch bark canoes and continues to the present, including exhibits of the late 1800s Great Lakes lumber schooners; the early 1900 shipyards of Sturgeon Bay; the 1940-1970s war efforts of Sturgeon Bay shipbuilders; and present-day shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.
There is an extensive exhibit on the raising of the George M. Humphrey, one of the largest ships to ever have been salvaged, refitted and sailed. Captain John Roen's and Roen Salvage's role in Door County's maritime history is fully documented, along with actual equipment used in salvage operations including a decompression chamber and hard hat diver's outfit. The Engine Room includes a collection of antique outboard motors. Also here is Jim's Boat Shop -- actual building space for boat builders where visitors to the museum may see works in progress.
The site also includes the refurbished tug John Purves when the weather permits. From 11AM to 3PM Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; docents lead guests in groups of 10 on a 40-minute tour of the vessel. See the winch room, the engine room, and the galley; tour the cabins; view the watefront from the pilot house. The tour costs $5 a person.