Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, founded in 1966, exhibits ship models, paintings and maritime antiques, principally from the great era of Atlantic trade and travel between England and America during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Museum features nine galleries of ship models, maritime paintings and artifacts. The vast majority of ship models were commissioned by the Museum to interpret the rich story of Savannah's maritime history. The collection of models includes, colonial vessels, ironclads, ocean-going steamers, and modern navy ships. The models have been strenuously researched and intricately detailed. All commissioned models are conveniently built to the same scale: 3/8" = 1'. Below are some examples of the models in our collection.
Financed by William Scarbrough, launched in New York in 1818 with engines installed soon thereafter in New Jersey, Savannah, though only 98 feet long, became one of the most important vessels in maritime history - the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. After being inspected by President James Monroe, who was visiting Georgia, the ship left Savannah in May, 1819, on a 10,000-mile, six-month-long voyage that would take her to Liverpool, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen and Arendal in Norway. Savannah sank off Fire Island, New York, in 1823.
In the fall of 1732, the Anne sailed to America carrying the first 114 colonists - some forty families - to the new colony of Georgia. Anne was a 200-ton frigate built merchant ship, only 87 feet long and 26 feet wide. The voyage from the mouth of the Thames to Charleston, where she landed on January 18, 1733 took about two months. Six days later Anne sailed along the coast to Beaufort, where the colonists left the ship. After a few more days at Beaufort, the colonists were carried by small boats to the Savannah River and the future site of the city of Savannah where they arrived on February 12, 1733.
The importation of slaves to America was outlawed in 1808, but from time to time vessels attempted to bring slaves illegally from Africa. One such vessel was the Wanderer. Built in 1857 as an elegant 106-foot-long pleasure yacht for a New York sportsman, she was not only graceful in design but also amazingly fast - with speeds up to twenty knots. Indeed, she may have been built with the illegal slave trade secretly in mind, for the ship was quickly purchased by Southerners and refitted for carrying cargo. The Wanderer landed her cargo of four hundred slaves on Jekyll Island, Georgia, in 1858.
Please visit our Online Exhibits page for more information on the Wanderer.
CITY OF SAVANNAH
This extraordinary vessel, 245 feet long, 38 feet wide and iron-hulled was partly powered by sail and partly by steam. She was the flagship of the Ocean Steamship Company of Savannah. Built by John Roach & Company at Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1877, City of Savannah provided passenger and freight service between Savannah, New York, and Boston. In August, 1893, on a return voyage from Boston to Savannah, she foundered off the coast of South Carolina during the great Sea Islands Hurricane - the fourth deadliest storm in U.S. history.
There would be larger ships and worse disasters at sea, but the sinking of the Titanic will always be the most famous. Built at Belfast, Ireland, in 1909-12 for the White Star Line, a British company owned by the American tycoon, J.P. Morgan, Titanic was 882 feet long and weighed 45,000 tons, the largest and most luxurious ship of the era. On her maiden voyage from Southhampton by way of Cherburg to New York, near midnight on April 14, 1912, the ship struck an iceberg and sank in just over two hours. Of the 2201 persons on board,1498 perished.