The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is pleased to unveil its newest permanent exhibit, Shipwreck of the California Gold Rush Steamship Winfield Scott.

During the California Gold Rush, ships propelled by steam regularly carried passengers and cargos between San Francisco and Panama. One such vessel was the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s side-wheel steamer, Winfield Scott. In 1853, the steamer was en-route from San Francisco south bound to Panama with over 500 passengers and a cargo of gold and mail when it ran aground on Anacapa Island becoming permanently stranded.

“Several passenger steamships were lost in 1853. Winfield Scott was the final act that plagued the movement of passengers and cargo. Few shipwrecks have been lost while on their way to Panama, and the Winfield Scott furthers our understanding of what people were taking away from California” said Robert Schwemmer, Maritime Heritage Coordinator for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

This new exhibit will feature intriguing stories of shipwreck survival as told by the marooned passengers, historic artifacts and imagery. Robert Schwemmer will be presenting “Winfield Scott, Life and Death of California Gold Rush Steamship” May 3 at 7pm, in the Museum’s Munger Theater. Local historian Willard Thompson will be presenting “Going for the Gold; how Pacific Mail Steamship Company brought miners to California” May 17 at 7pm, in the Museum’s Munger Theater.

For additional information, call (805) 962-8404, ext. 111 or visit

Opening April 21, 2011

Reception 5-7pm

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

113 Harbor Way

Santa Barbara, CA 93109


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