Between the Rivers: Steamboating in Missouri and Iowa

With their roaring engines, belching smokestacks, splashing paddlewheels, and distinctive whistles, steamboats were an awesome power on the river. Come on deck and discover the history of steamboats in a new temporary exhibition, Between the Rivers: Steamboating in Missouri and Iowa.

Between the Rivers explores the steamboat industry and its impact on the river environment, culture, and economy in Missouri and Iowa from the 1850s to the early 1900s. Located between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the land and people of Missouri and Iowa have long been defined by these two great rivers.  Together the rivers and their tributaries opened pathways to exploration, trade, settlement, industry, war, and freedom in the Midwest. But it wasn’t just the river itself that was critical to western development—the invention of the steamboat brought about a revolution in American river commerce as significant as the railroad on land.  Long before railroad tracks crisscrossed through the country, the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers served as major thoroughfares of transportation for people and cargo.

The exhibit will feature steamboat architecture and design, life adrift on the rivers, natural and steamboat disasters, government regulation of the industry, navigational improvement of the rivers, and the economic struggle between river and rail.

Between the Rivers opens on September 25 and is available for viewing through April 27, 2013. To schedule a docent-led group or school tour call 816-268-8013 or email

This exhibit runs through April 27, 2013

National Archives at Kansas City
400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108

Research Rooms: 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Exhibits: 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

This exhibit could provide research data for several requirements in Living in the USA, especially for Pioneers and Patriots.

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