Lorenzo Cultural Center presents Michigan’s Freshwater Seas: Pioneering Progress

Monday, February 07, 2022 08:00 AM

Lorenzo Cultural Center
Lorenzo Cultural Center

Through presentations, exhibits and live theater, new program series examines the impacts of the Great Lakes on Michigan and America

 Michigan is surrounded by one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world, and the Lorenzo Cultural Center, located on the Center Campus of Macomb Community College, will delve into the forces that shaped the state’s relationship with America’s inland seas during the new program series Michigan’s Freshwater Seas: Powering Progress, Feb. 18 through April 8.  Through 12 presentations, three live theater performances and exhibits, Michigan’s Freshwater Seas will bring to life Michigan’s nautical history.

 “Michigan’s history is entwined with the Great Lakes,” said William Wood, director, Cultural Affairs and Community Engagement, Macomb Community College. “Michigan’s Freshwater Seas showcases how Michiganders leveraged this tremendous asset in becoming the center of the auto industry, the Arsenal of Democracy and a destination for outstanding recreation and tourism.”

 The program series feature 12 presentations, beginning on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. with A Great Lakes Legacy in Story, Song and Dance. One of Michigan’s leading historical performing groups, La Compaine, will bring authentic sounds of early Michigan to the Lorenzo Cultural Center.

 Other presentations in the series include:

  • The Great Lakes Top 10: Our National Story: The Great Lakes have been a powerful force in American history. Ellen Kelly from the National Museum of the Great Lakes will share their list of the top 10 ways the Great Lakes have shaped our nation from being a source of rich resources to its development as a transportation system and contested battleground. Wednesday, March 12, 11 a.m.
  •  Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes: Steam-powered cruise ships were a critical partner in railroad expansion and at the heart of a thriving recreational industry on the Great Lakes. Joel Stone, retired curator of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, will take a look back at these floating palaces Wednesday, March 23, 11 a.m.

 The main exhibit, located in the 8,500-square-foot Discovery Hall, is centered around an approximately 16-foot tall replica of a Great Lakes sailing vessel and includes numerous artifacts including models of vessels significant to Michigan’s past and relics from boats that sailed the lakes long ago. The exhibit was developed with the assistance of the Detroit Historical Museum, Port Huron Museum, other local museums and private collectors.

 Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, a traveling exhibit from the Michigan Women’s Historical Center that honors the more than 50 women who served as lighthouse keepers in Michigan will also be on display. Through photos and text, the exhibit highlights the lighthouse keeper’s duties, where they served and the challenges they faced.

Three live museum theater productions will also be offered. These original productions provide context to the artifacts and exhibits. Each solo performance, performed by professional actors, is unique in style and presentation, and focuses on a specific part of Great Lakes history. Each of the productions are presented three times during the program series:

  •  Architect of the Lakes, written by Joseph Sfair and D.B. Schroeder, tells the story of naval architect Frank Kirby whose varied designs included passenger ships, ice breakers and rail car ferries. Thursday, March 3, 11 a.m. (Repeats March 9 and 26)
  •  Women of the Watch, Keepers of the Light by Anna Marck sheds light on some of the forgotten stories of female lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes. Friday, March 11, 11 a.m. (Repeats March 16 and 26)
  •  In the Shadows of the Bridge by Alex Morrison celebrates the life of Cornelius Henderson whose engineering work on the Ambassador Bridge quietly impacts Detroiters to this day. Thursday, March 24, 11 a.m. (Repeats March 26 and April 1)

 Michigan’s Freshwater Seas is made possible through support of the presenting sponsor First State Bank. Additional funding is provided in part by the Sonya K. Brett Memorial Endowed Fund for Cultural Enrichment Programs and The Kresge Foundation.

Presentations typically last one hour and are complementary but require registration. For a complete listing of presentations and to register, go to Registration is not required to visit the exhibits. Exhibit hours are Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday 10 am to 8 p.m.

About the Lorenzo Cultural Center 
The Lorenzo Cultural Center provides interactive learning opportunities for all ages. It extends student discovery beyond classroom walls as well as creating multi-faceted opportunities for community members to explore the influences and experiences that shape our heritage. The Lorenzo Cultural Center is located on Macomb Community College’s Center Campus, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township. More information is available at

About Macomb Community College
Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is one of the largest grantors of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor-degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media contact: Sean M. Patrick, 586.445.7271,