Valerie van Heest

Interpreting the Past for the Present

Valerie is an underwater explorer and historian who has been involved in the discovery and archaeological documentation of numerous historic Great Lakes shipwrecks. Combining her passion for maritime history with her professional writing and design experience, Valerie shares her adventures through award-winning books, films, lectures and museum exhibits in ways to educate, entertain and inspire. She is an inductee in the Women Divers Hall of fame and the recipient of a Michigan State History Award for her work preserving and promoting the state’s submerged maritime history.

Valerie has written six books and numerous magazine articles. She is a regular presenter at museums, libraries, and film festivals sharing the dramatic stories of mysteries on the Great Lakes, and she has appeared on television news networks as well as the National Geographic, History, and Travel Channels. Valerie is a partner in the exhibit design firm Lafferty van Heest & Associates and serves as a director of the nonprofit Michigan Shipwreck Research Association, spearheading the search for and documentation of lost ships.

Exploring Great Lakes Shipwrecks
Interpreting the past for the present


Writing Books and Articles
Read Valerie’s award-winning books

HomeBookFatalCrossing HomeBookUnsolved HomeBookLostFound HomeBookBuckets
HomeBookLadyElgin HomeBookIcebound

Sharing Her Stories


Schedule a Program
at your conference, museum, library, senior center, church or club.

Designing Museum Exhibits
Whether a maritime or other topics, Valerie’s firms provides full service curatorial, design, fabrication, and installation services.