Come to Marion and discover the Sultana, the greatest maritime disaster in US history. 


The Sultana docks at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library

February 9th through March 8th, 2019

The William J. Clinton Presidential Library located in Little Rock, AR has announced the inclusion of the Sultana steamboat disaster story in their exhibit entitled “The Mighty Mississippi: A mosaic of the growth of America.” The Marion, AR museum has temporarily committed several of it’s Sultana artifacts to remain on display throughout the exhibit.

Fourth Annual Sultana Civil War Lecture Conference

April 27, 2019 Conference – “War on the Mississippi”
Marion, Arkansas  72364

2019 Lecture Topics:

  • Tragic Accident or Sabotage; Debate over the Explosion of the Sultana

  • Civil War Medicine

  • War on the Mississippi               

  • Battles of Memphis

  • Preservation of History

An impressive list of guest lecturers will be announced by March 1, 2019.             

For Information Contact:Marion Chamber of Commerce; (870) 739-6041

The Sultana

The Sultana was a Mississippi River steamboat paddle wheeler destroyed in an explosion on April 27, 1865. This resulted in the greatest maritime disaster in United States history. An estimated 1,800 of the 2,400 passengers were killed when three of the boat’s four boilers exploded and the Sultana sank near Memphis. This disaster received little public attention, as it took place soon after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and about three weeks after the end of the Civil War.





The purpose of the Sultana Disaster Museum is to tell the story of what happened April 27, 1865, and what led up to it. It is the story of the steamboat and the route it took. It is also the story of those men who were freed from Andersonville and Cahaba prisoner of war camps and how, and why, they were crowded on a grossly overloaded boat. The event and the aftermath were a tragedy in many ways, not just a boat exploding. Learn about how the cargo the Sultana carried which was unloaded contributed to the explosion.

Museum ›


Food & Lodging

Marion has a wide variety of places to grab a bite to eat. Whether you’re looking for Mexican, Italian, Chinese, or classic American cuisine, you can find it here. Marion is also home to several hotels, including the brand new Hampton Inn and an RV park, all with easy access to Interstate 55 that puts Memphis attractions within easy reach.

Food & Lodging ›

Future Museum

The future Sultana Disaster Museum will provide the exhibit space for additional artifacts and interactive exhibits. With higher ceiling heights, LED lighting, and precise temperature and humidity control, the new museum will be able to demonstrate the conditions which caused the boiler explosions, show the workings of the steamboat propulsion, allow the display of fragile materials, and many other exhibit to enhance the visitors understanding of the greatest maritime disaster in United States history.       

Architectural drawings ›
Interpretive plan ›