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Dossin Great Lakes Museum completes $1.5 million worth of improvements

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle has completed $1.5 million worth of improvements designed to show off its outdoor artifacts and take advantage of its riverfront location.

Artifacts such as the anchor from the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald have been redisplayed and upgraded.

A new walkway and shoreline stabilization are just a few of the many improvements made at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Saturday, August 29, 2019.

A walk was extended along the riverfront and a patio was added for events.

And those who use the museum's shoreline for non-motorized water activities like  kayaking now have access to a new stabilized cove.

New pedestrian lighting, bike racks, benches, a cycle service station and a canine refresh station for pets were also added to the museum campus. 

The museum, which is celebrating its 60th year on Belle Isle, marked the completion of phase one of its four-part outdoor enhancement plan with a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday. 

"This site has so much potential," said Sarah McClure, a member of the Detroit Historical Society Board of Trustees, which operates the museum.

"Longer term we're considering a plan to expand this museum itself, perhaps add a library for our museum documents in a new wing that would allow us to display larger artifacts indoors," McClure said.

Kayla Draper, special events coordinator, Detroit Historical Society, passes the anchor from the U.S.S. Yantic along a new walkway and outdoor space at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Saturday, August 29, 2019.

The Detroit Historical Society created a new path on the drive leading into the parking lot to make it easier for visitors to get to the museum, since previously people who missed the entrance would have to loop around the whole island to reach the entrance again. 

"There's much more work to be done on the parking lot to ensure that we are treating our riverfront site in the most environmentally and effective way possible," McClure said at the ceremony.

Renovations for the other three phases of the $4.9 million budgeted enhancement plan will be put on hold until more funding can be raised. Over $1.9 million has been raised. 

The museum reopened from closure due to COVID-19 in July and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Thursday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.