Arabia Steamboat Museum
The Mighty Missouri’s notorious appetite for steamboats has claimed nearly 400 vessels over its 2500 mile course; on September 5th, 1856, colossal Arabia, a reliable and swift 171 foot sidewheel steamer hauling 222 tons of mystery cargo, was sent straight to the bottom when a large snag brutally punctured her hull en route to her destination. All aboard survived, save a single and sadly forgotten mule, left tethered to a piece of sawmill equipment on the deck.
Arabia was lost for 132 years, in spite of scores of failed attempts by treasure hunters bent on finding the boat and her lost stores, rumored to be whiskey and gold. Her eventual discovery in a farm field beneath 45 feet of earth a half mile from the Missouri Channel kicked off a 20-year excavation venture resulting in the recovery of the largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world.
Today, the magnificent Arabia Steamboat Museum is one of the Kansas City area’s most popular attractions, summoning thousands of enthusiastic visitors each year hoping to study the lives of the Western pioneers traveling aboard the ill-fated steamboat through the astonishing array of fascinating exhibits, or hear one of the greatest treasure-hunting stories ever told. The tremendous volume, variety, and nature of the Arabia’s priceless treasures will amaze you; the year 1856 springs more vividly to life with each exhibit. Don’t be surprised if you’re greeted by one of her original excavators, often on hand to welcome guests!