Archaeologist will discuss RI's notable sea disasters

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With a moniker like the Ocean State, it should be no surprise that Rhode Island has more shipwrecks per square mile than any other state. Along the south coast and Block Island are the resting places for countless numbers of vessels, with many more located in Narragansett Bay.

Come learn more about what lies just offshore as Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission Archeologist Charlotte Taylor talks about her new book, “Rhode Island Shipwrecks” Saturday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. at the Ship History Center, 2500 Post Road, Warwick.

Hundreds of steamships have met misfortune in Rhode Island’s waters through bad weather, human error, equipment failure and bad luck. Some steamship sinkings were epic disasters, with many fatalities; other accidents were relatively minor misfortunes in which the ships were salvageable.  This talk presents some of the best available images and stories of steamships coming to rest in Rhode Island; some are funny, some are sad, but all are memorable.

Taylor is an archaeologist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, where she maintains an inventory of the location and condition of the state's shipwrecks. Published in 2017, “Rhode Island Shipwrecks” includes several images from the SSHSA archives. 

The talk is free, but seating is limited and registration is required. Call 463-3570 or email blucier@sshsa.org to reserve a spot or for more information.

A national organization dedicated to the history of engine-powered ships, Steam Ship Historical Society of America opened its Ship History Center in Warwick in 2015. The roughly 8,000-square-foot center on Post Road allows the public to experience some of the bells and whistles of steamships, along with its extensive archive of images, artifacts periodicals, artwork, official records and memorabilia. For more information visit www.sshsa.org.

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