I hear there are going to be several hundred woodworkers descending on Kansas City at the end of this week for Woodworking in America. And that’s just the instructors and vendors.

If you are there and find yourself with some free time or a need to be somewhere else for a while, might I recommend the The Arabia Steamboat Museum, less than two miles from the Crown Center?

Background: The steam boat Arabia was a side-wheeler that made regular runs up and down the Missouri River until it hit a submerged walnut tree and sank in 1856. It sank rapidly in the muddy river bottom and was lost. Over time, the Missouri moved as rivers are want to do.

The steamboat remained lost until 1988 when some local entrepreneurs set out to find it and recover its contents. They found the Arabia in a cornfield about a half mile from the river and reached an agreement with the land owner to dig it up. Between November of 1988 and February, 1989, they salvaged much of the content of the Arabia from a 65  foot deep pit. They required an army of irrigation pumps and generators to deal with the rising ground water. When they finally turned off the pumps, the hole refilled overnight.

With the recovered contents, they opened themselves a fine museum and conservation/preservation lab. They claim to have on display the largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts in the US.

I was last there about 15 years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly. I am looking forward to visiting it again. My plans are to arrive in KC late on Wednesday and spend all day Thursday and Sunday afternoon seeing what there is to see.

So, if you find yourself with some free time, plan a visit.

Or if the sessions aren’t as stimulating as you thought…

The Steamboat Arabia Museum is located at:

400 Grand Boulevard
Kansas City, MO 64106