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The Steamboat Arabia

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Social Studies +2 Age Level High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection was made to pair with a learning experience during the November 17th workshop for Pittsburgh teachers working with the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Teachers will visit the Steamboat Arabia exhibit and learn from a Heinz History Center curator about the decisions made and limitations faced when creating an exhibit for visitors to learn from.

Both the online collection and the Heinz History Center exhibit explore the question "How do new innovations in transportation affect American life?"

The collection below contains artifacts and images from the Smithsonian collection that might help students and teachers respond to the question above. Suggested scaffolding questions might include:

  • Identify the changes in technology and transportation that occurred between 1800-1850.
  • How did these new transportation systems impact the movement and interactions of groups of people, the expansion of trade, and cultural life on the frontier?
  • How do the items in this collection compare to what was found during the recovery of the Steamboat Arabia?

Photograph of steamboat Providence

National Postal Museum

Buckeye State steamboat model

National Postal Museum

Steamboat Torch Basket

National Museum of American History

Propeller Indiana’s Capstan

National Museum of American History

Coal from Propeller Indiana

National Museum of American History

New York & Albany Steam Boat Token

National Museum of American History

5c Robert Fulton single

National Postal Museum

Stoneware cooler

National Museum of American History

Broadside for a New Orleans auction of 18 enslaved persons from Alabama

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Button

National Museum of American History

Inland Waterways 1820-1940

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access