Those artifacts from the steamboat Arabia, which hit a snag and sank 158 years ago in the
It marks the first time that owners of the
After all, the side-wheel steamer was built in
"Their theme is, 'The Arabia has come home.' Of course, we feel like it is already home," said
Four workers from the
Visitors enter through a cornfield, where they see some of the first artifacts unearthed from the excavation site. Another section of the exhibit details the preservation process. And of course, there's a re-creation of the Arabia's lone casualty -- a mule left tied to a post or rail.
"They took with them a lot of artifacts but still, when I walk through the Arabia, as the collection is so vast, I don't even see a dent," Hawley said. "If I had not known that the materials had been loaned, I would not have noticed."
The moving crew took special care with each item, he said.
"They measured every artifact, took a photo of it, wrote a description of it and then passed it to the next person," Hawley said.
Workers placed the artifacts in packing material inside archival boxes that were slid into bigger containers, each about 6 feet tall, on rollers, Hawley said.
"Their biggest challenge was getting these things past my mom," he said. "We stood there, my mom and dad, as they loaded it onto the truck. As this truck pulls away, my mom turns to me and says, 'Is it too late to call them back? Our babies have never been out on their own before.' "
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