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Arabia Steamboat Museum

Critics' Choice

First-time visitors to the Arabia Steamboat Museum might wait to peruse the gift shop until after exploring the truly wonderful finds lying below. The museum houses 200 tons of general cargo — ranging from shoe nails to gold-encrusted luxury goods — lost on the Arabia when it sank in the Missouri River in 1856. It was found and excavated more than 100 years later, and the exhibits provide a window into American life on the frontier, as the West was was being settled. This past January, the museum closed for the first time in its 21 years to perform repairs, reorganize its collection and open more displays. The result is a more comprehensive, organized and spruced-up local gem.

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