Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fantastic Find: The Arabia Steamboat Museum

If I'm ever in Kansas City, I'll be sure to visit the Arabia Steamboat Museum which houses what it calls "largest single collection of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world" which were salvaged from a steamboat which sank on September 5, 1856.*  The level of preservation of some of the goods that were on board when the Arabia sank is amazing so if you want to get an idea of what your mid-19th century ancestors might have found in their local store this is the place to go.

[All photographs above from the Arabia Steamboat Museum]

Keys, hinges, shoes, buttons, hats, pistols, saddles and thousands of mundane objects are represented in the collection but Wedgwood China and imported French perfume (still retaining a pleasant odor) were among the fancier articles on the Arabia. And some of the bottled food is still edible.

You can read a 2013 Wall Street Journal article about the Arabia here.

*Apparently the only casualty was a mule whose skeleton is on display in the museum.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.


  1. yes, do go to this - it's fascinating. We went in 2008 before going to the FGS conference in Little Rock.

  2. How amazing, I'm going to read the WSJ article to see if it tells how it is that these things were in such good condition!