Saving History Saturday: Sultana Museum Receives A New Grant & Future

There’s interesting preservation news from Marion, Arkansas! The Sultana Historical Preservation Society learned that the Union Pacific Railroad Board has approved a $10,000 grant which would allow the preservation society to undertake renovations and create a new home for the Sultana Disaster Museum.

The Sultana Disaster took place in April 1865 when the steamboat exploded and burned in one of the most deadly accidents in U.S. Maritime history, claiming the lives of 1,800 passengers and crew—many of them returning Union soldiers.

The museum’s displays focus on the steamboat, the history of the tragedy, and the passengers who were onboard on that fateful night. Some exhibits also spotlight the rescuers who attempted to save lives during the disaster.

The Sultana, photographed in Helena, Arkansas, on April 26, 1865–the day before she exploded. Note the deck packed with Union soldiers.

According to the museum’s website, the new museum project which is supported by the grant will take over a 1938 school auditorium-gymnasium which will be redesigned by a team of architects and exhibit experts to use the 17,000 square foot facility to tell the account of the Sultana and the ending of the Civil War effectively in a permanent setting.

Original Press Release:

Sultana Disaster Museum Website:

2 Responses to Saving History Saturday: Sultana Museum Receives A New Grant & Future

  1. While the Titanic of course gets all the press, the Sultana and the Wilhelm Gustav–the German liner sunk by a Soviet sub in 1945 with perhaps 9,000 refugees aboard–should all be mentioned together when maritime disasters are referenced.

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