Arabia Steamboat Museum

Arabia Steamboat Museum Arabia Steamboat Museum is home to 200 tons of frontier bound cargo lost when the steamboat Arabia sank in the Missouri River near Kansas City in 1856.

When the steamboat Arabia sank in the Missouri River in 1856, some said she carried gold...others said fine china. What was actually discovered will amaze you! Explore the lives of the Western pioneers through the story of the sunken Arabia and its cargo, a remarkable time capsule of life on the American frontier. You will also be intrigued by one of the greatest treasure-hunting stories ever told

When the steamboat Arabia sank in the Missouri River in 1856, some said she carried gold...others said fine china. What was actually discovered will amaze you! Explore the lives of the Western pioneers through the story of the sunken Arabia and its cargo, a remarkable time capsule of life on the American frontier. You will also be intrigued by one of the greatest treasure-hunting stories ever told

Operating as usual

#Museum30Today is "favorite color".  Thought long about this - does the prompt want a color pertaining to the museum or ...
11/26/2021

#Museum30

Today is "favorite color". Thought long about this - does the prompt want a color pertaining to the museum or to me? Then I realized that, like me, the folks coming out to the Midwest in 1856 *loved* the color red.

We tend to call this color "oxblood red" but oxblood red is actually a brown-red. "Turkey red" was a dye/color apparently only for cotton during this time (so not applicable to the Arabia collection); it was used in the late 18th century and continued in popularity for the next century. So, we're a bit unsure exactly what these shades of red would have been called in 1856, but there is a LOT of it in the cargo - from wool yarn to the silk in the photo to wool coverlets to wool shirts.

#arabiasteamboatmuseum #history #arabiamuseum #americanhistory #kansascity #kc ##artifacts

From our family to yours, may your day be full of family and friends, laughter and joy, thanks and grace.
11/25/2021

From our family to yours, may your day be full of family and friends, laughter and joy, thanks and grace.

From our family to yours, may your day be full of family and friends, laughter and joy, thanks and grace.

An incredible new discovery made! We had no idea this was possible.https://youtu.be/902xhViwmrg#arabiasteamboatmuseum #a...
11/24/2021
Nobody has seen this in 165 YEARS!

An incredible new discovery made! We had no idea this was possible.
https://youtu.be/902xhViwmrg

#arabiasteamboatmuseum #arabia #history #arabiamuseum #americanhistory #kansascity #kc #artifacts

Today we look at an incredible artifact that somehow survived underground, in the mud, for 165 years, yet somehow didn't get muddy. IG: @arabiasteamboatmuseu...

11/24/2021
#Museum30Today's prompt is "work space".  That would be the Lab (for me).It's rather difficult to get a 'good' photo of ...
11/24/2021

#Museum30

Today's prompt is "work space". That would be the Lab (for me).

It's rather difficult to get a 'good' photo of the lab since it's a working space, not a nice clean organized exhibit. But this is where *all* the preservation - minus fabric washing - takes place.

On the counter, you see samples we've collected up to show folks and talk about; on the right you see a monitor where we show a few screenshots of the textiles with better lighting. A whiteboard gives an overall generalized task list, and you can see a buffalo overshoe being worked on (fully preserved, a tiny bit of sewing still needing completion). Back on the table is a tray with a few pocket knives awaiting a smidge of cleaning and then documentation, and further back there's the computer I am currently using to post this. And we can't forget the freeze dryer! It's the last step in leather and wood preservation.

It's not a very big work space, but its impact at the museum is humongous!

#Museum30

Today's prompt is "work space". That would be the Lab (for me).

It's rather difficult to get a 'good' photo of the lab since it's a working space, not a nice clean organized exhibit. But this is where *all* the preservation - minus fabric washing - takes place.

On the counter, you see samples we've collected up to show folks and talk about; on the right you see a monitor where we show a few screenshots of the textiles with better lighting. A whiteboard gives an overall generalized task list, and you can see a buffalo overshoe being worked on (fully preserved, a tiny bit of sewing still needing completion). Back on the table is a tray with a few pocket knives awaiting a smidge of cleaning and then documentation, and further back there's the computer I am currently using to post this. And we can't forget the freeze dryer! It's the last step in leather and wood preservation.

It's not a very big work space, but its impact at the museum is humongous!

#Museum30 We're participating in a museum challenge called Museum30.  In true Arabia Steamboat fashion, we're adjusting ...
11/23/2021

#Museum30

We're participating in a museum challenge called Museum30. In true Arabia Steamboat fashion, we're adjusting it a bit, though. For the next thirty business days, we'll post a photo and bit of info whilst following the prompts given in the challenge.

Today is "the museum". Many would interpret this as a building or a sign, but we're here because of this steamboat. The Arabia was a "packet" which means she carried not only passengers but cargo and occasionally mail, and, as a packet, kept a schedule! She was considered by many to be one of the fastest boats on the Missouri in her day, steaming between St Louis and the City of Kansas in a blazing SIX days!!!

#Museum30

We're participating in a museum challenge called Museum30. In true Arabia Steamboat fashion, we're adjusting it a bit, though. For the next thirty business days, we'll post a photo and bit of info whilst following the prompts given in the challenge.

Today is "the museum". Many would interpret this as a building or a sign, but we're here because of this steamboat. The Arabia was a "packet" which means she carried not only passengers but cargo and occasionally mail, and, as a packet, kept a schedule! She was considered by many to be one of the fastest boats on the Missouri in her day, steaming between St Louis and the City of Kansas in a blazing SIX days!!!

Sad irons - or flatirons - were a staple tool in nearly every household in 1856.  It was not acceptable to appear sloven...
11/23/2021

Sad irons - or flatirons - were a staple tool in nearly every household in 1856. It was not acceptable to appear slovenly, and cotton wrinkles like mad after washing - and let's not even discuss linen!!! Pointed at the front to get into the various pleats and folds with a blunt, broad back to iron the wider parts of a skirt or shirt, these were designed to be heated atop a woodstove and often were set on a trivet or hot pad to protect the table from the residual heat.

The "sad" part of the name does not refer to how frumpy ironing may make you feel. Instead, it evolves from the Old English word meaning "heavy" or "solid" - and in this context, it makes sense as these weighed quite a bit for their size. Seen in the photo are 5, 6, 7, and 8lb irons as well as a relatively tiny 3lb iron which may have been a child's 'toy' used to teach how to keep one's attire properly pressed.

Unfortunately, sad irons are generally relegated to propping open doors these days.

Sad irons - or flatirons - were a staple tool in nearly every household in 1856. It was not acceptable to appear slovenly, and cotton wrinkles like mad after washing - and let's not even discuss linen!!! Pointed at the front to get into the various pleats and folds with a blunt, broad back to iron the wider parts of a skirt or shirt, these were designed to be heated atop a woodstove and often were set on a trivet or hot pad to protect the table from the residual heat.

The "sad" part of the name does not refer to how frumpy ironing may make you feel. Instead, it evolves from the Old English word meaning "heavy" or "solid" - and in this context, it makes sense as these weighed quite a bit for their size. Seen in the photo are 5, 6, 7, and 8lb irons as well as a relatively tiny 3lb iron which may have been a child's 'toy' used to teach how to keep one's attire properly pressed.

Unfortunately, sad irons are generally relegated to propping open doors these days.

Many of you will recognize one of today's artifacts as a hand pump.  Some of you may even have one!  This was found on t...
11/15/2021

Many of you will recognize one of today's artifacts as a hand pump. Some of you may even have one! This was found on the main deck, near the rear, and is believed to have been used to pump water for any animals being transported.

In front of the pump is a small open bucket and a cocoanut dipper. The bucket has remnants of blue paint, indicating it was likely used for water.

The dipper is made from a cocoanut shell, finely turned wooden handle, and metal rim. These dippers were *very* common throughout the 19th century. Some of these cocoanut dippers were very plain like the one in the last photo. Some were painted (one aboard the Arabia has traces of paint), and others were rimmed in fine metals. Fancy or plain, they were found in schools, businesses, and homes - anywhere someone needed a drink of clean water without the need for a glass. Made primarily on the eastern seaboard, dedicated businesses cropped up to supply the heavy demand.

(It is not a "cocoa dipper" - those were an entirely different type of ladle.)

It had all led up to this moment.  The Arabia Steamboat Museum opened to the public on Nov 13, 1991.  It had taken three...
11/13/2021

It had all led up to this moment. The Arabia Steamboat Museum opened to the public on Nov 13, 1991. It had taken three years *to the day* since the shovel hit the dirt in the search for the lost steamboat. Three years, first of digging in the cold, wet winter months and uncovering the cargo history had nearly forgotten, then the slow start of preserving the past.

The steamer's lost treasures would now be shared with us all.

#arabia #arabiasteamboatmuseum #museum #kansascity #kc #kcmo #anniversary #celebration #30years #local #history #ushistory #artifacts #treasure #steamboat #steamboattravel #riverboat #westwardexpansion #adventure #americanfrontier

TBT - Opening the Museum - Final TouchesThe last bit of signage carefully placed before the grand opening on Nov. 13, 19...
11/11/2021

TBT - Opening the Museum - Final Touches

The last bit of signage carefully placed before the grand opening on Nov. 13, 1991.

The museum had been an undertaking of three years, keeping their 'day jobs', preserving artifacts in all the time they could spare, building the museum. It had all built up to this .......

TBT - Opening the Museum - Final Touches

The last bit of signage carefully placed before the grand opening on Nov. 13, 1991.

The museum had been an undertaking of three years, keeping their 'day jobs', preserving artifacts in all the time they could spare, building the museum. It had all built up to this .......

In honor of the Arabia Steamboat Museum’s 30-year anniversary, this Saturday, November 13, ticket prices will be the exa...
11/10/2021

In honor of the Arabia Steamboat Museum’s 30-year anniversary, this Saturday, November 13, ticket prices will be the exact same price as the first day we opened!

Adults: $5.50
Seniors: $5.00
Children ages 4-12: $3.25
Children 3 and under: FREE

Come celebrate with the people who opened the museum all those years ago and visit one of Kansas City’s greatest attractions—whether it’s your first visit or your 10th!

#arabia #arabiasteamboatmuseum #museum #kansascity #kc #kcmo #anniversary #celebration #30years #local #history #ushistory #artifacts #treasure #steamboat #steamboattravel #riverboat #westwardexpansion #adventure #americanfrontier

In honor of the Arabia Steamboat Museum’s 30-year anniversary, this Saturday, November 13, ticket prices will be the exact same price as the first day we opened!

Adults: $5.50
Seniors: $5.00
Children ages 4-12: $3.25
Children 3 and under: FREE

Come celebrate with the people who opened the museum all those years ago and visit one of Kansas City’s greatest attractions—whether it’s your first visit or your 10th!

#arabia #arabiasteamboatmuseum #museum #kansascity #kc #kcmo #anniversary #celebration #30years #local #history #ushistory #artifacts #treasure #steamboat #steamboattravel #riverboat #westwardexpansion #adventure #americanfrontier

This tiny little porcelain doll baby was found carefully wrapped in a wool sock and hidden in the corner of a tool box b...
11/08/2021

This tiny little porcelain doll baby was found carefully wrapped in a wool sock and hidden in the corner of a tool box belonging to a passenger aboard the Arabia during the fateful trip in 1856. There are two plausible explanations; she may have been intended as a holiday present, picked up in St Louis for a young daughter and hidden from her until Christmas -or- she may have been a reminder by a daughter given to her father as he headed to the frontier to build a new home for the family, to be taken back when they were reunited. Which one is true? We'll never know, but it gives us a real human connection.

Many of you know of this doll as "Frozen Charlotte". There is actually no indication this is a Charlotte doll, though the Charlotte fad had begun taking shape in the US. These dolls were generally made in Germany (as early as 1850-ish) as bath toys or as small dollies to be carried and dressed (like any other doll).

You can find quite a bit of information on "Frozen Charlotte", so named after a poem penned ca. 1840. What apparently is not found is documentation the dolls were truly based upon the poem or that the poem really was based on a true story. :

This tiny little porcelain doll baby was found carefully wrapped in a wool sock and hidden in the corner of a tool box belonging to a passenger aboard the Arabia during the fateful trip in 1856. There are two plausible explanations; she may have been intended as a holiday present, picked up in St Louis for a young daughter and hidden from her until Christmas -or- she may have been a reminder by a daughter given to her father as he headed to the frontier to build a new home for the family, to be taken back when they were reunited. Which one is true? We'll never know, but it gives us a real human connection.

Many of you know of this doll as "Frozen Charlotte". There is actually no indication this is a Charlotte doll, though the Charlotte fad had begun taking shape in the US. These dolls were generally made in Germany (as early as 1850-ish) as bath toys or as small dollies to be carried and dressed (like any other doll).

You can find quite a bit of information on "Frozen Charlotte", so named after a poem penned ca. 1840. What apparently is not found is documentation the dolls were truly based upon the poem or that the poem really was based on a true story. :

TBT - Building the Museum - BoilersAt 170' long, the Arabia was a side-wheel steamer of moderate size.  There were small...
11/04/2021

TBT - Building the Museum - Boilers

At 170' long, the Arabia was a side-wheel steamer of moderate size. There were smaller boats, of course, and much larger ones. To power the paddles of the 200 ton boat, there were three massive boilers located roughly mid-deck. Water used to create the steam was pumped from the river itself.

A day's steam required up to 32 cords of firewood, much provided by farmers and settlers along the river who'd place cut wood out for sale. Unfortunately, the massive amount of firewood needed actually created the problems which doomed many boats; the banks eroded further and further back, causing even more trees to topple into the water with the root balls often lodging in the bottom, the top barely or invisible at the surface.

11/04/2021

Join us on November 13th as we celebrate the Arabia Steamboat Museum’s 30th Anniversary! More details coming soon.

#arabiasteamboatmuseum #arabia #museums #kansascity #kc #kcmo #anniversary #30years #local #history #ushistory #artifacts #treasure

11/03/2021

NOV 4th (tomorrow) #AskAConservator Do YOU have a question for us at the Arabia about preservation or conservation of the collection?

"Ask a Conservator day is held in November in remembrance of the flooding of Florence on November 4th, 1966, which damaged priceless cultural heritage. However, in response to the catastrophe, incredible efforts were made—and are still being undertaken—to conserve the items impacted by the flood.

Ask a Conservator Day follows in the spirit of that international collaboration and exchange of knowledge. We acknowledge and celebrate the growth of the field inspired by the response to the flood by creating an opportunity for people to engage with conservators on social media."

("The 1966 flood of the Arno in Florence killed 101 people and damaged or destroyed millions of masterpieces of art and rare books. It is considered the worst flood in the city's history since 1557.")

11/01/2021

Nov 13th - Mark your calendars!
It's the 30th anniversary of the Arabia Steamboat Museum!
More details soon.

'Tis a chill in the air most nights now.  To help keep the cool away, coverlets or thin wool blankets were used.  Double...
11/01/2021

'Tis a chill in the air most nights now. To help keep the cool away, coverlets or thin wool blankets were used. Double bonus - they could (and did) act as a wrap or shawl in a hurry!

This beauty has a lovely plaid design in several shades of red and may have originally had a bit of blue or black, as well. Other coverlets on board were multi-colored plaid. Notice the delightful fringe!

Because the condition of these coverlets is rather poor, likely due to the thinness of the wool and looseness of the weave, we really cannot measure how large they might have been.

'Tis a chill in the air most nights now. To help keep the cool away, coverlets or thin wool blankets were used. Double bonus - they could (and did) act as a wrap or shawl in a hurry!

This beauty has a lovely plaid design in several shades of red and may have originally had a bit of blue or black, as well. Other coverlets on board were multi-colored plaid. Notice the delightful fringe!

Because the condition of these coverlets is rather poor, likely due to the thinness of the wool and looseness of the weave, we really cannot measure how large they might have been.

The Arabia Steamboat Museum will be closing at 4:00 pm today so our staff can spend time with their families and friends...
10/31/2021

The Arabia Steamboat Museum will be closing at 4:00 pm today so our staff can spend time with their families and friends for Halloween.

Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!

The museum will resume regular hours starting tomorrow, Nov. 1st

The Arabia Steamboat Museum will be closing at 4:00 pm today so our staff can spend time with their families and friends for Halloween.

Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!

The museum will resume regular hours starting tomorrow, Nov. 1st

10/31/2021

Have a happy Halloween!

Our hours today 12:00-4:00 last admission at 2:30.

Address

400 Grand Blvd
Kansas City, MO
64106

Take the KC Streetcar to the City Market stop at 5th & Walnut. Walk across 5th Street to enter the market square. The museum is located on the east side of the City Market.

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 12pm - 5pm

Telephone

(816) 471-1856

Website

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Comments

Last year at this time was our visit, had the fortune of running into David who was very gracious and gave us an impromptu Q&A. The picture popped up on my Facebook Memories.
Saw this painting at the California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, Nevada. We stopped there this past September. We have been to the Arabia Museum (loved it!), and was so excited to see this painting. Have you seen it?
Meet Kaely Megaro, Planner/Project Manager in our Planning Branch. In FY21 she led the Grand River Feasibility Study program team in getting a Chief’s Report signed in November 2020 which led to the project being authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act. See some of her other accomplishments! #FacesOfUSACE #BuildingStrong #USACEstrong #FY21 Harry S Truman Lake, US Army Corps of Engineers Northern Missouri's River Ridge Outfitters Arabia Steamboat Museum Missouri Dept. of Conservation Northwestern Division, US Army Corps of Engineers USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters Pomme de Terre Lake, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Stockton Lake, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri Department of Natural Resources Missouri River Navigation, US Army Corps of Engineers
The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department, and The City Market - Kansas City are again teaming up to offer a convenient #COVID19 vaccine clinic on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at City Market. Look for the #KCMO Mobile Vaccine Unit in front of the Arabia Steamboat Museum. Read more at https://bit.ly/3ynEZ6B.
What a great museum. Could spend hours listening to Dave talk about the excavation and all of the findings. Thanks for sharing with the world. 5 Stars highly recommend the tour.
Quincy Daily Whig [Newspaper Archives] March 19, 1856 Page 2
Taking steps at the The City Market - Kansas City to knock out #COVID19. We’re outside of the Arabia Steamboat Museum until 2p.m. Stop by say hi! And get a FREE COVID-19 vaccination. #publicheath #kansascity
Saw this old postcard on eBay and thought you might be interested in taking a peek at it:
It's our favorite day of the week and it's not because the weekend is almost here. It's #fridayfilmnight and tonight we are watching The Fall and Rise of the Steamboat Arabia! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvktzUEIE8Y&t=69s&ab_channel=ShipHistoryShipHistory Please remember to like and comment on the video and subscribe to our channel at YouTube.com/c/ShipHistory Arabia Steamboat Museum
Are there any reliable sources for old maps of the Missouri river? I've always wanted to know how it must have looked like during the time Weston Missouri still had its riverboat landing.
https://youtu.be/2iYQ0VTl_-E What an amazing place to visit 😀 #kansascity #steamboat #midwest #roadtrip #kansascitymo Arabia Steamboat Museum
It was so neat visiting here today, and very cool meeting Dave Hawley who was one of the gentlemen who dug up the Arabia. I can tell a lot of love has gone into making this museum. Thank you for sharing your discoveries with the world!