One of my favorite places in the Kansas City metro area is the Arabia Steamboat Museum. For two reasons. First, it is a museum about a steamship that sank in the Missouri River in 1856, carrying supplies to settlers in the West. The ship was recovered in 1988 and countless artifacts from this supply ship are now on display. It is described as an 1856 Wal-Mart, giving incredible insight into the daily lives of people from that era.
The second reason is the way the ship was found and the way the museum came into being. A blue collar family, the Hawleys, (who owned a cooling and heating business in Independence, MO) along with friends, did the work to identify the wreckage. They put together a team to recover it on their own, investing their personal fortunes to do so. It is a remarkable story. (Click on "Museum Info" at the website and select "Arabia's Video" to get the story of the Arabia and the Hawley's.)
Sadly, one of the brothers, Greg Hawley, was killed Saturday when his pickup was struck by an 18 year old racing another teenager on the highway. That teenager is being charged with first degree manslaughter. One man's life ended and his family devastated. Another man's life horribly altered by incredibly irresponsible behavior. It is truly heartbreaking.
Here is the Kansas City Star article Historian’s hard work, innovation survive in Arabia Steamboat Museum. Peace to the families of all involved.