On the Water: Stories from Maritime America

May 22, 2009 – Permanent

National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, East Wing, American Maritime Enterprise Floor Plan

Marine transportation and waterborne commerce underlie American history like a strong and steady ocean current. Maritime trade established major cities, created connections between people and places, and opened the continent. This exhibition traces American maritime history from 18th-century sailing ships, to 19th-century steamboats and fishing craft, to today's huge container ships. Items featured include rigged ship models, patent models, documents, and images from the Smithsonian's National Watercraft Collection. American maritime history is brought to life through the stories of whaling crews, fishermen, shipbuilders, merchant mariners, passengers, and many others who work on the nation's waterways.

Audio and video components
Interactive stations

Spanish-language translations of the exhibition labels are available for loan at the Welcome Desks.