KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Arabia Steamboat Museum has been a part of the Kansas City’s City Market for over 20 years but it could soon be out of city completely in a few years.
Museum founder David Hawley tells FOX4 that last Friday they signed a letter of intent with the city of St. Charles, Missouri to explore all options to build a building for the Arabia Steamboat Museum to occupy.
Hawley announced back in 2019 plans for the popular tourist attraction to leave Kansas City when its lease expires in 2026.
Hawley teamed up with his brother and father to unearth the 1856 Arabia shipwreck from a cornfield in Wyandotte County in 1988.
The project garnered headlines across the globe and yielded a treasure trove of artifacts from the 19th century.
“St. Charles is very excited to add the museum as an option for their tourism outreach,” Hawley said.
Hawley has said in addition to raising the rent, city officials have told him there are plans to surround his museum with bars and restaurants. He said, even with insurance, his priceless collection cannot be housed in a building with the possibility of water leaks and other hazards.
In recent years, Hawley has also met with leaders from Jefferson City, St. Joseph, Marshall and Pittsburgh, Missouri.
Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston also made a pitch back in 2019 to bring the museum to her city since the spot where the Arabia was pulled from a cornfield in Wyandotte County was Parkville’s riverfront in 1856 since the Missouri River shifts..