Our homeschool group met for another great field trip. Today we visited the Steamboat Arabia Museum. This steamboat sunk in the Missouri River in 1856 while loaded to the brim with goods to be sold at general stores in the midwest. Some men went treasure hunting for this particular steamboat 132 years later and uncovered a pre-Civil War Walmart.
The mud and water preserved the contents of this sunken steamboat. The coffee beans still smelled fresh, the pickles still edible, the textiles and dishes still brilliant. The things that did deteriorate were plant materials such as cotton, yet products from animals remained, such as wool, leather, silk. Many shoes and boots were found, including rubber shoes stamped Goodyear on the bottom. The cotton thread had deteriorated, so to restore the leather shoes, they had to be resewn by hand. A great effort was made to sew into the original holes. One box of cotton dresses had completely deteriorated leaving behind layer upon layer of colored mud and at the bottom of the wooden crate, the remaining buttons and hooks.
I highly recommend this museum if you are ever in the Kansas City area. It is small, but truly amazing.