Arabia Steamboat Museum


This week we drove to downtown Kansas City, MO to tour the Arabia Steamboat Museum. This museum is dedicated to the excavation of the Arabia Steamboat, which sank in the Missouri River in 1856, but was not excavated until 1987. The Hawley family, as well as their friends Jerry Mackey and David Luttrell worked to remove the artifacts from the steamboat as gently as possible, to avoid damaging them. They have since spent the last 30 years preserving the artifacts by cleaning them and displaying them throughout the museum. The Arabia was carrying approximately 200 tons of trade goods, so there is plenty to keep the historical preservation staff busy – they estimate they have at least another 15 years of work left to complete!

The museum is beautifully laid out, and the film at the beginning of the tour was interesting and inspiring. We had an excellent tour guide, and really enjoyed the preservationist working that day.

Here are some of the pictures from our tour:

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Learning about the Arabia, and preparing for the introductory video

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The hull

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View of the hull from the other side – it’s huge!

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Listening to the tour guide and learning about the kinds of merchandise that was recovered from the steamboat before we enter the museum

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Personal items recovered during excavation

Since so much of what was recovered was meant for general stores and trading posts out west, the museum has been set up in much the same way
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The branch that “snagged” the Arabia and caused it to sink

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Paddle wheel

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Many thanks to the museum for a wonderful tour!


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