Full scale model of the doomed Sultana at the Sultana Museum in Marion, Arkansas

Full scale model of the doomed Sultana at the Sultana Museum in Marion, Arkansas

The interim Sultana Museum in Marion, Arkansas houses a scale model of the doomed steamboat. The Sultana rests just outside the city limits of Marion and provides visitors with interpretation of the events that led up to the explosion of the boilers late one April night in 1865. Known as the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history, the story of the Sultana can be read in one or all of several books written on the topic.

The museum is housed downtown in a small building with limited space for a historical event of this caliber. It is an absolute shame that not more of the public knows about this event that led to the horrific deaths of nearly 2,000 soldiers going home after being a prisoner of war in hellish places including Andersonville. Look closely at the model and imagine there being several thousand people stacked and packed onboard this boat while going upstream with bad boilers.

At some point, everyone should go out of their way to visit this museum. The list of passengers spans the length of two full walls in the exhibit. They also have excellent books on the topic. Start Googling and researching this event for yourself today!