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Arabia Steamboat Museum

Step back in time to the 1850s and explore a mystery of the pioneering Midwest, through the history of the famous Arabia Steamboat.

In 1856, the Arabia steamboat sunk on its way down the Missouri-Kansas River. It lay hidden and undisturbed under a cornfield for more than 130 years, before finally being discovered in 1988. The pre-Civil War era cargo ship has since been lovingly restored and is now displayed to the public in its very own museum.

The museum traces the history of the steamboat in both the 1800s and its salvage effort in 1988. It holds one of the best displays of pre-Civil War era artifacts in the Midwest, all of which have been lovingly restored to near original condition. The ship’s cargo was a mixture of personal belongings and retail items destined for shops. You’ll see clothes, cutlery, pottery, chinaware and essentials from the daily lives of those living in the 1800s.

The recovery operation is explored in as much detail as the ship’s early life. Explore the original stern of the ship and find out about the recovery at the multimedia-enriched exhibition. Watch the short film to learn more about the recovery. The film is also an excellent starting point for your visit to the museum.

The deck has been recreated across the museum to provide visitors with a life-like experience in exploring the boat and its artifacts. Wander past the large side-wheels, the steam motors and the boilers. The tree that sank the boat is also proudly on display. Get insight into the delicate restoration process at the lab, where technicians work throughout the day cleaning artifacts for display.

The Arabia Steamboat Museum is located in the River Market district, on the south bank of the Missouri River. The admission price includes a 90-minute tour of the entire museum, which is open Monday through Saturday. There is plenty of free parking available and buses stop nearby.


Guide to Exploring around Arabia Steamboat Museum


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