What do airlines and steamboats have in common?
They both have museums devoted to them, right here in Kansas City! And by venturing just a short distance, you can travel through time to discover intriguing facts about some of the country’s early transports. Here are two fascinating transportation museums to check out:
Airline History Museum
The Airline History Museum takes you up, up and away with a breathtaking display of awesome aircraft. Among the man-made flying wonders on display is a DC-3, many of which were used for military transport during World War II. There’s a Martin 404, originally intended as a replacement for the DC-3, and a Lockheed TriStar, designed as a civilian passenger craft for early international flights. There’s even a TWA Moonliner, built more than a half-century ago as a then-futuristic aircraft that would launch passengers into space.
But you don’t just see the museum’s vintage aircraft. There are also simulators that let visitors actually experience what it’s like to fly different types of planes.
So prepare for take-off. Visit the museum, located at Hangar 9 at the Downtown Airport, 201 NW Lou Holland Dr.
Arabia Steamboat Museum
Buried treasure, recovered. Tons of it. That’s what you’ll find when visiting the Arabia Steamboat Museum, which showcases items found and salvaged after the boat sank in 1856. It wasn’t until well over a century later – in 1988 – that the goods were rescued, but when they were, oh, what a find.
The treasure trove of 19th-century items included clothing, dishware, tools, guns, and other pieces that became mired underwater when the Arabia collided with a tree and sank in the Mississippi River. The boat, which was transporting cargo intended for general stores and private homes, was just a few miles from Kansas City.
The vast collection sheds light on how life was lived in the pre-Civil War era. To see it, visit the museum at 400 Grand Blvd.
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