As part of its mission to preserve and interpret the unique maritime history of the Great Lakes region, the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History has developed some useful digital collections and tools to serve its members and independent researchers.


Find thousands of items and collections from libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, community groups and selected personal collections. Discover – people, places, events and objects about the Great Lakes. View and access – photographs, maps, videos, government documents, newspapers and more…

Great Lakes Art Database:

Illustrations add color and dimension to historic vessels, harbors, and wharves around the Great Lakes. This searchable index leads to sketches, paintings, lithographs and published materials held in public and private collections across Canada and the United States. As an ever-expanding project, we welcome participation of non-member institutions and individuals.

Mackinac Customs Manifests:

Over 11,000 original documents dating from 1802-1859 (with a handful from later years), the Mackinac customs documents were scattered across several institutions including members of the Association. Thousands come from the fur trade on the Lakes before the War of 1812, while others document passages west with settlers and the supplies they wanted, ending with the beginnings of the mining industry on Lake Superior.

Customs House Wreck Reports of the Great Lakes

These 47 volumes consist of copies of reports regarding shipwrecks of marine vessels in the vicinity of, or belonging to, various the ports of Chicago, Milwaukee, Duluth, Sault Ste. Marie, Port Huron, Detroit, Toledo and Cleveland. The surviving volumes vary in terms of years of coverage between 1874 and 1942 depending on the port. The original reports were made by the master or owner of the vessel, or their agent; the copies in this series were maintained locally as record copies by the Customs Collector or Deputy Collector responsible for these ports. The incidents described included founderings, collisions, and strandings. The reports provide details of the incidents, including the name of the vessel, vessel documentation details, name of the ship’s master (captain), location of the incident, nature and cause of the wreck, number and names of fatalities, weather conditions, description of the cargo, and monetary values of both vessel and cargo.